AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Friday, you can see some of Michelangelo’s greatest works at The Sistine Chapel Exhibition at the Circuit of the Americas. It’s one of many events making a comeback after the pandemic.

The Sistine Chapel Exhibition (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

Austin’s tourism and hotel industry has taken a hit over the last few years.

“You know when you compare it to the pandemic it’s all concerning,” said Steve Genovesi, executive vice president of Visit Austin. “But right now, there’s been a roar of demand for visitors to vacation here for meetings to be here and we’re just enjoying that ride right now.”

Looking at the numbers, in 2019 from January to May, hotels brought in about $538 million for the city. In 2020 and 2021 that dropped to less than $300 million both years. This year, the city’s hotel revenue exceeded all of that, bringing in about $620 million already.

The Sistine Chapel Exhibition (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

This is partially due to rooms costing more and more rooms being available for people to stay in.
The average rate for a room in Austin is about $176 a night — $10 more than it was in 2019. Despite the inflation, Visit Austin, the group in charge of the city’s tourism business, said the city worked hard to make it a destination for people to visit.

“There’s a lot of affordability and value in choosing Austin versus maybe other destinations that might be a further flight, a further drive, at least they can get away and spend quality time with their friends and family in a destination like Austin,” Genovesi said.

This weekend’s COTA event will have a collection of reproductions of Michelangelo’s art on the chapel’s ceiling. Visitors will be able to listen to an audio guide explaining the history behind the art.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Exhibition is open at COTA Thursdays through Sundays through Aug. 28. Tickets start at around $19 for kids and $26 for adults.

There are also discounts available for senior citizens, students and the military.