Here’s how the 2024 solar eclipse will benefit Texas

On Monday, parts of the Lone Star State will experience a once-in-a-lifetime event with the total solar eclipse. With that, comes an influx of tourists, which Texas officials believe will positively impact the state’s economy.

The Texas Comptroller said Wednesday that experts predict the solar eclipse will generate an economic impact of more than $200 million statewide. 

The event, which NASA says won’t occur again for another 20 years, had visitors booking hotels, vacation rentals and RV parks in or near the path of totality months in advance. The Great American Eclipse reports 1.1 million out-of-state visitors are expected to make a stop in Texas on April 8. 

Did you know? The solar eclipse will begin near Eagle Pass at around noon and end at Texarkana around 3 p.m., passing through small towns like Kerrville and big cities like Austin and Dallas along the way.

So, what about Texas’ state parks? Texas Parks and Wildlife reports 27,229 total overnight and day-use reservations at the 31 state parks in the path of totality on April 8. 

While only 35% of the state’s 88 state parks will be in the eclipse’s path, they account for more than 85% of total overnight and day-use reservations for the entire Texas state park system, the department said. The event is so popular that only four parks still had availability as of April 3.

Local governments in eight counties have issued disaster declarations for the day of the eclipse in anticipation of the large crowds expected to show up that day.

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

These local declarations are a practical planning tool, allowing local leaders to more easily coordinate emergency response with the state and to require people organizing eclipse parties in unincorporated parts of the county to register their events.

A Llano representative, meanwhile, told the Texas Tribune that the city is viewing the solar event as an opportunity, and hopes that local businesses, hotels and restaurants will experience an economic boost.

Did you know? The last time Texas saw a total solar eclipse was in the summer of 1878. Reporters from the Fort Worth Daily Democrat wrote that citizens were encouraged to observe the eclipse using a piece of “lightly smoked” glass as a viewing protector and then report their findings.

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Airbnb reports a 600% increase over the same time period in 2023 in searches for listings in Texas for the solar eclipse weekend, an Airbnb representative told Texas Monthly

The eclipse isn’t just good business for the hospitality industry, it’s good for portable toilet companies. KUT Austin reports Central Texas companies that rent portable toilets have experienced “historic demand for their products” as people plan eclipse parties.

One company told the news station demand hadn’t been this high since Winter Storm Uri in 2021.

But what about the science of it all? During the eclipse, NASA will conduct its own research on the solar corona, which is the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere, to advance our understanding of thermodynamics.

Axios Houston reports the space agency will use two WB-57 jets to chase the eclipse path and have 35 volunteer teams across the path of totality to capture videos of the sun’s corona using special cameras that measure the polarization of light.

The overall goal is to better understand why the atmosphere of the sun is hotter than its surface and help scientists measure the strength of the sun’s solar wind.

One expert told the Texas Tribune that the eclipse will be a “visceral” or “whole body experience.” We hope Texans not only take the time to fully take in this event but that they benefit from the economic opportunity the eclipse is creating.