FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — At their annual meeting held Friday, Visit Fort Worth touted that the city saw a record number of tourists in 2022 – to the tune of almost 11 million people.
All those tourists are having a huge impact on Cowtown. It’s Saturday night at the Reata restaurant in downtown Fort Worth, and groups of friends and families are gathering for dinner.
“Reata’s a great spot. We love coming here. Its got a great atmosphere, great food – we really love the Stockyards,” said Mike Miller of Aledo. “We’re all staying at the Drover [Hotel] and what they’ve done down there has just been phenomenal.”
In their 2023 annual report, Visit Fort Worth says the city had a record 10.8 million tourists in 2022. And all those tourists mean big bucks for the city: $3 billion dollars in economic impact.
Mike Micallef, the president of the Reata, says consumer research conducted by Buxton shows 25% of their customers come from out of state.
“If you didn’t have tourism, at a minimum our sales would probably be 30 or 40% less. It’s essential for our business,” said Micallef.
Visit Fort Worth says sports was a big draw to the city in 2022, and new hotels are drawing visitors to downtown businesses.
“I think one of the things we’re seeing in Fort Worth that other places in the country aren’t, ” said Micallef. “We’re seeing new restaurants open, we’re seeing new hotels open all the time.”
So why is Fort Worth booming? Micallef said there are a few reasons he can think of.
“The Yellowstone story has brought this whole focus on Texas – one of our tag lines is the ‘Modern West.’ With people embracing that culture, that’s Fort Worth. Come here, you can have a great time. You can experience that culture. But you can also go to places like the Kimble Art Museum and the Modern [Art Museum of Fort Worth]. We’ve got everything for you here in Fort Worth.”
But some North Texas locals wish they could keep the city for themselves.
“It’s amazing to see people from all over come over and check out Fort Worth and get to see what we’ve grown up with, but at the same time, it’s like ‘hey, this is our stomping grounds’, but we love it,” said Miller.