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Houston First Celebrates the ‘Future of Travel’

Houston • April 28, 2022

HOUSTON, Texas (April 28, 2022) – Travel and tourism are critical not only to Houston’s economy, but to the city’s promising future, which is why Houston First Corporation (HFC) is pleased to join destinations across the country to celebrate “The Future of Travel” during National Travel & Tourism Week May 1-7, 2022

According to the U.S. Travel Association, before the pandemic, the U.S. travel industry generated $2.6 trillion in economic output and supported 17 million American jobs. 

The Texas Workforce 2020/2021 report revealed that leisure and hospitality in Houston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land’s metropolitan statistical area (MSA) dropped from 343,000 jobs in June 2019 to 274,900 jobs in June 2020, a decline of 68,100 positions or 19.9 percent. From June 2020 to June 2021 the major industry added back 51,700 jobs to reach an employment level of 326,600 — a positive annual growth rate of 18.8 percent, but still 16,400 jobs down over two years.

In February 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the leisure and hospitality sector in Houston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land’s MSA added 42,800 jobs from February 2021 to February 2022. Within this super sector, the accommodation and food services’ sector accounted for most of the increase (+38,100).

2021/2022 Highlights



  • Houston First announced that it lined up more than 29 citywide events for the year, many of which are achieving record attendance.
  • Forbes listed Houston as one of the “22 Best Places to Travel in the U.S.”
  • Houston First spearheaded a historic international economic development mission and integrated marketing campaign in Mexico to reinforce Houston’s position as the top city for global trade, tourism, business, and leisure travel from Mexico.
  • An official memorandum of understanding was signed between Nuevo Léon’s Secretary of Tourism and Houston First Corporation.
  • Leisure travel represents 30 percent of Houston’s visitor profile. TravelClick data shows that January – April 2022 leisure travel in Houston is 2 percent ahead of 2021 with indicators suggesting that leisure travel will increase to 35 percent by year end.
  • Over 200 meetings and events are scheduled for 2022:
    • 104 are scheduled at the George R. Brown Convention Center
    • 29 are citywide meetings (more than 1,500 hotel room nights), which surpasses meetings held pre-pandemic in 2019.

Since assuming office, Mayor Sylvester Turner has strived to increase the city’s business and leisure travel, both domestically and internationally.

“Travel is a vital part of our Houston economy, and I am pleased that our city has made incredible strides to overcome one of the most devastating crises to hit the hospitality industry,” Mayor Turner said. “Our many accolades and achievements prove that the future of this city and travel continue to be bright.”

Post-pandemic achievements continue to add up for Houston’s journey to a more sustainable recovery, including major film and TV projects, which not only draw millions of eyes to all things Houston, but a key local revenue and job generator. The good news carries on into 2023 when Houston will be the host site for the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

“Our efforts continue to position Houston as a prime destination for both the national and global stage,” Houston First President & CEO Michael Heckman said. “National Travel & Tourism Week allows us the opportunity to showcase the importance of what our industry is built upon ─ creating unique experiences for our visitors that keeps them returning for more.”

To raise awareness about the role travel and tourism play in helping rebuild our local economy, HFC and Mayor Turner will recognize three individuals from various sectors of the local hospitality community in honor of National Travel and Tourism Week.

“We have much to celebrate in our city as we move into the future of travel. I encourage everyone to support Houston, travel, and our resilient hospitality community by experiencing the hotels, restaurants, and attractions that make this one of the best places in the world to be,” Mayor Turner said.

HFC is also sponsoring a sweepstakes during May and one lucky person will have an opportunity to win 52 Weeks of Fun in Houston!  Find out more at 52 Weeks Contest.


About Houston First
Houston First, listed as one of the 2022 Great Places to Work, is the official destination management organization for the city of Houston. In addition, Houston First owns the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, manages the George R. Brown Convention Center along with 10 city-owned properties and developed the Avenida Houston entertainment district. Learn more at and