The 2018 South by Southwest festivals had a $350.6 million impact on Austin’s economy, according to a new report released Monday.
That’s an increase of just less than 1 percent compared to 2017, when the total was $348.6 million.
“SXSW is a quintessential Austin story,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said. “Starting as a music festival, then expanding to include film and evolving further to cover interactive technology, as well as education and now gaming, SXSW has become the world’s fair of the future. It has made Austin the focal point of the world in March. The economic impact of SXSW is on par with hosting the Super Bowl every year and, even if you don’t come to the event, we all benefit year round.”
SXSW is the single most profitable event for the city’s hospitality industry, according to Greyhill Advisors, which conducted the study for SXSW.
Visitors to Austin booked 53,000 room nights during the festival. SXSW says direct bookings helped the city net $1.8 million in hotel occupancy tax.
“I can think of no single event that has more impact on the Austin hospitality and tourism industry than South by Southwest,” said Scott Joslove, president and CEO of the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association. “For hotels, it means room nights and the capacity to sustain continued job growth within our industry. For the city, it yields unparalleled growth in the city sales tax, alcohol tax and hotel tax.”
SXSW 2019 is set to run March 8-17.