Rose tops $2 million: 2013 season impact down, but same as in 2010

Published on Saturday, 18 January 2014 22:48 - Written by By Casey Murphy cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

The economic impact of the 2013 Texas Rose Festival/Rose Season was down more than 5 percent from the year before. Officials contribute the slump to a still sluggish economy weighing on travelers.

Shari Rickman, general manager and vice president at the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau, said just because attendance was down for the overall Rose Season, it doesn’t mean tourist travel was down.

She said the number of people traveling to Tyler from outside Smith County for Rose Season events was up by about 2,000 people over the year before. It appears locals didn’t participate in the festivities as much as they had in 2012, she added.

The economic impact of the events, and local attractions to Tyler, was nearly $2.28 million — down about 5.22 percent from the more than $2.4 million seen in 2012. The 2013 season brought in the same amount of money calculated in 2010, according to a survey prepared by the Tyler Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Although October had some rainy, dismal days, Ms. Rickman believes the Rose Season was as well attended as it has ever been.

She said the trend of the day traveler is up, which makes a slight economic impact to the city. The typical tourist coming in to Tyler is one with a family and she believes the economy is still weighing heavily on the traveler. Grandparents who are bringing their grandchildren to town, she believes, appear to be coming only for the day or camping at Tyler State Park. They are opting for more economical-based travel than staying in local hotels.

Ms. Rickman said tourists not spending the night here as much as they did in years past could be the reason the overall economic impact for the 2013 Rose Season was down.

The Texas Department of Economic Development Office of Tourism estimates that a visitor to Smith County spends about $103 if they stay overnight, and about $40 for a day trip.

According to the survey, released to the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Board during its meeting Tuesday, 113,743 people attended the festivities in 2013. That’s a 4.19 percent decrease from the year before, when there were 118,721 attendees.

Of the people who attended the events and attractions in 2013, 43 percent were tourists. About 21,422 visitors from out of town attended Rose Season events, compared to 19,612 in 2012. About 27,087 tourists attended the Texas Rose Festival, compared to 31,968 the year before.

Ms. Rickman said attendance for Rose Season events was up by about 1,810 people while attendance to the Texas Rose Festival was down by about 2,000 people. She said although the coronations were down in attendance some, she believes there were as many people as years past participating in the Queen’s Tea.

Through October, the Tyler Convention & Visitors Bureau surveyed visitors during the four-day Texas Rose Festival to determine its visitor/tourist impact; analyzed guest books from the Rose Garden Center building and Queen’s Tea bookings from tour groups; and hotel occupancies were collected from participating events. Using these numbers, the attendance, number of tourists, room nights and group tours, the economic impact of the Texas Rose Festival/Rose Season was calculated.

Also tabulated was attendance for 26 events and tourist attractions during October. Events ran the gamut, and included the Arts & Crafts Fair/Plant Sale, which attracted about 3,200 people; Moore Farms Pumpkin Farm, which had about 11,500 visitors; the Firefighters Combat Challenge, with about 1,900 people in attendance; and the Rose City Comic Con, with 2,867 people.

The Kiepersol Grape Stomp brought in about 3,524 people; Texas Rose Horse Park shows attracted 1,405; about 1,629 people participated in the Tyler Rose Marathon; and 10,303 people visited Tyler State Park during the month.

Attendance to nine Texas Rose Festival events and attractions included about 10,000 people at the Rose Show; 2,362 saw the two coronations; about 5,000 attended the Queen’s Tea; and about 50,000 people were sitting curbside during the Rose Parade, the report estimates.

There were about 174 group travelers visiting the Texas Rose Festival with a tour group this year, down from 271 the year before, the report states.

With 19 local hotels reporting, there were 2,005 rooms booked and overnight stays attributed to the Rose Season/Festival.

Although the last season saw a decline in attendance from the year before, the 2012 season experienced a 10 percent spike compared to the 108,049 people reported in 2011. The economic impact of 2012 was 6.6 percent or almost $150,000 more than the $2.3 million seen here in 2011.