AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tourism has taken off in Austin.

According to Visit Austin, travelers spent $8.2 billion in 2022. That generated $837 million in local taxes, saving the average household $917 annually.

At the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, passenger traffic growth this March was up 6.52% compared to March of 2022. With 1,941,044 departing passengers, March of 2023 was the fifth busiest month on record at AUS.

Only five months into 2023, Visit Austin President and CEO Tom Noonan says the city is on pace for a record-setting year for tourism.

Even with the possibility of an economic recession, he believes that Austin is in a prime position to attract a wide variety of visitors.

“So many destinations are good at one or two things, they might be good at business travel, they might be a leisure destination,” Noonan said.

“We have them all, including festivals and major sporting events. While we may get hit by a recession, at least Austin has all those major channels that fund our tourism industry and bring people into town.”

When it comes to preparing for the possibility of a downturn in the economy, Fairmont Austin General Manager Nenad Praporski says many lessons were learned during the pandemic.

“Recent history taught us not to get too complacent and too comfortable,” he said. “At the same time, the beneficiary of that could be a traveler who may be able to secure a trip for a more favorable rate.”

Currently, more than 146,000 people work in the hospitality and tourism industry in Austin.

This week marks the 40th anniversary of National Travel and Tourism Week.

The annual event celebrates the travel industry’s role in stimulating economic growth, creating jobs and supporting small businesses.

Below is a schedule of Visit Austin’s events this week:

  • Tuesday, May 9: Visit Austin will also host a “thank you” reception for the Downtown Austin Ambassadors.
  • Tuesday, May 9 and Thursday, May 11: Visit Austin and several local tour operators will host Austin hospitality staff for complimentary city tours.
  • Wednesday, May 10: Visit Austin will host Give Back Gig, an industry charity event and concert benefiting the Visit Austin Foundation and the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM).
  • Friday, May 12: The Trail Conservancy will host the Visit Austin and the D9 Council Office teams for a volunteer clean-up day at Auditorium Shores