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City of Waco expecting huge economic impact from solar eclipse

Eclipse economic impact
Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 18:11:24-05

WACO, Texas — Downtown Waco hotels are filling up and local businesses are prepping for a once in a lifetime experience. The City of Waco is expecting an economic impact of $30 million between April 5 to April 8 — the Solar Eclipse in Waco.

  • The Solar Eclipse is expected to bring in millions of dollars to the Waco economy. $30 million total, and $17 million of that is from direct spending at shops, restaurants, and local hotels.
  • The tourism and convention center is expecting 100,000 people to be in Waco for the eclipse.
  • Dollars from the hotel tax will go back into the city helping create ways to make Waco a travel destination.
  • A boutique block party will be held Sunday, April 7 on Franklin Avenue from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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The solar eclipse is expected to bring in millions of dollars to the Waco economy.

“The average rate in the market is probably $400+ over those four or five days — there’s 2,800 rooms in the market," said Courtyard Marriott Hotel Manager, Justin Kuzski.

"The math was, it’s going to bring in major money into the area."

If you’re wondering how that money helps the City of Waco...

“The dollars we get from the hotel tax will go to be able to tell more people about what we have to offer," said Director of Convention and Tourism, Dan Quandt.

"We are more than just clubs, we are more than our major shopping attractions."

Justin Kuzski says most of their rooms are booked — the few they have left, have a two night minimum stay requirement, and it’s all strategic.

“One of the reasons hotels are requiring that two night stay, is we want to help everyone get more money through this event,” Kuski said.

25 News spoke with two boutique owners on Franklin avenue, one of which isn’t normally open on Sundays, but with the city expecting more than 100,000 visitors — they’re planning a block party.

“A lot of our vendors are smaller vendors that are kind of waiting to get their businesses going and doing the farmers markets and things like that, but Sunday brings a brand new day for them!” said Owner of Dylan Nicole Boutique, Karen Hansen.

Hoping to see more sales, they’re also creating a unique experience for their customers.

“We’ve all made our own t-shirt designs, stuff that we’ve uniquely crafted and not something that we’ve purchased off a design from someone else,” said Carmen Robinson, owner of Urban Bliss Boutique.

With each shirt sold, you get a free pair of eclipse glasses, to help give them that once in a lifetime experience.

“People are going to want to have an experience that they’re sharing, and I like the idea of having the unique shirts," Dan Quandt said.

"That makes a lot of sense, because people will want to tell people, I was there, you know? That’s part of what you’re selling experiences — the cool factor."

The boutique block party will be Sunday, April 7 on Franklin Avenue from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Also happening that weekend, you can snag a free pair of eclipse glasses from the Waco Convention Center.