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Eclipse Impact Bigger Than a Taylor Swift Tour

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Glenn Hasek

Bigger than the Taylor Swift effect on our industry? Cosmically speaking, for sure. The upcoming total solar eclipse is definitely stirring up a lot of reservation activity across the U.S. Who knew that a show put on by our own solar system could have such an impact?

For those of you who have been in “the dark” about the eclipse, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun on April 8. In the U.S. the path of totality, where the moon will “cover” the sun in its entirety, will begin in Texas at 1:27 p.m. CDT and end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. EDT. Most of North America will witness at least part of the eclipse. (See this article.)

More than 20 percent of American travelers say they are likely to take a trip to experience next month’s eclipse, according to the State of the American Traveler’s March report. This past week, Choice Hotels International said it has over 400 hotels in the path of the eclipse that are being booked at an increased rate of 800 percent compared to the same date last year.

Great American Eclipse has developed a geographic model to estimate how many people will travel to see the eclipse. This model predicts that between 1 and 4 million people will travel to the path of totality. Texas will receive most visitors, followed by Indiana, Ohio, New York, Arkansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Oklahoma, Maine, and New Hampshire.

“It will likely be the most-viewed astronomical event in American history,” says Michael Zeiler, expert eclipse cartographer and co-founder of Great American Eclipse. “When you combine the populations of Mexico, USA, and Canada that live inside the path of totality, and add all of those who will travel on eclipse day, a total of 50 million North Americans witnessing totality is possible.”

Like 50 Simultaneous Super Bowls

“It’s like having 50 Super Bowls happening at the same time all across the country,” says Great American Eclipse co-founder, Polly White. “The Super Bowl typically draws 80,000 people total. Multiply that by 50, and you have our high-range prediction for eclipse tourism. And this does not include Mexico or Canada.”

An example of a remarkable potential influx is the area near Kerrville, Texas, northwest of San Antonio, which could see as many as 488,000 visitors. (View eight highly detailed regional maps that break down the visitation model at greatamericaneclipse.com/visitation.)

In Central Texas there will be a five-day Texas Eclipse Festival to celebrate the event. The Hotel Ithaca, boasting 98.8 percent totality, is offering a Solar Eclipse Package on Sunday through Tuesday, April 7 to 9, to include an Eclipse Viewing Party along with special amenities.

Last month, even STR weighed in with its assessment of the eclipse’s impact.

“We can expect to see higher occupancy, ADR and RevPAR levels in the areas of totality and partial totality on both the days leading up to the event and the event day,” said STR, which analyzed the impact of the 2017 solar eclipse in its blog.

Enjoy the eclipse while you can. The next total solar eclipse that can be seen from the contiguous United States will be on August 23, 2044.

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