Houston sees record number of visitors in 2016

Space Shuttle Explorer
Space Shuttle Explorer, as it was known at the time, is prepped as a new exhibit at Space Center Houston on June 9, 2012. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

A record number of people visited Houston last year, city tourism officials said recently.

An estimated 20.5 million domestic and international visitors traveled to Space City during 2016, numbers reveal. That includes an estimated 17.3 million domestic visitors and 3.2 million international travelers, including 2.2 million from Mexico.

“You’ve heard me say it before, ours is the most diverse and welcoming city in the country, one a growing number of people want to visit to experience our food, our culture and our people,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a news release. “Travel is a vital part of our Houston economy. The industry supports more than 140,000 jobs in our region and contributes $16.5 billion to the local economy. These new tourism figures indicate we are headed in the right direction.”

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Sightseers’ Delight started publishing in June 2016. The site, published by The DeFeo Groupe, collects and curates content about places where historical events large and small happened. The site builds off the legacy of The Travel Trolley, which launched in June 2009. The site aimed to be a virtual version of the trolley tours offered in so many cities.