AUSTIN (KXAN) — This year’s South by Southwest, the first in-person festival since 2019, had a $280.7 million impact on the Austin economy, according to event organizers.
Here’s a breakdown of where the money came from.
Attendance accounted for $164.8 million, according to SXSW. This includes payments from credentialed participants and single-ticket holders made to get into SXSW events.
Another chunk of the money originated from operational impacts — $78.4 million. SXSW said it requires year-round operations along with full-time, temporary and seasonal staff workers.
The last portion of the money — $37.5 million — was attributed to “partner impact” or expenditures by SXSW exhibitors and sponsors and events hosted by SXSW and third parties.
“We celebrate the return to Austin of SXSW and its unique energy that showcases the arts, live music, and technologies of the future,” said Mayor Steve Adler in a press release. “SXSW captures why and how this city has become home to and attracts the most innovative and creative people. And once again, our local businesses and creatives were able to enjoy the support that SXSW brings.”
However, 2022’s impact was not enough to surpass the $355.9 million the 2019 festival brought to the city, as well as other totals in years before that.
In 2018, Austin made just over $350 million from hosting SXSW. More than $348 million was made for the city in 2017 and $325 million in 2016, according to past reporting from KXAN.
The festival was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was held virtually in 2021.
Impact on hospitality industry
SXSW 2022 directly contributed to over 10,000 individual hotel reservations totaling more than 45,500 room nights for festival registrants. Direct bookings alone generated almost $1.8 million in hotel occupancy tax revenues for Austin, according to event organizers.
On average, nightly hotel rates for SXSW rooms this year went up only $2 compared to 2019 rates because of a few new hotels opening.
Spending by SXSW attendees on average was 25% higher per attendee than in 2019.