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Regional eclipse forecast: Two minutes of darkness, millions in economic impact

 The best way to protect your eyes during the April 8 solar eclipse is with glasses designed to filter out harmful radiation.
Courtesy photo
NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
The best way to protect your eyes during the April 8 solar eclipse is with glasses designed to filter out harmful radiation.

It may get black as night during the solar eclipse April 8, but plenty of businesses expect to see green.

Drew Hayden, general manager at The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth, is one. He expects to fill the downtown hotel’s 504 rooms on a Sunday night, which, in the business, is rare.

“That’s not usually a busy time for us, so it’s perfect,” he said.

As of the Wednesday before the event, the hotel wasn’t sold out, but he expects it to by the weekend.

“I thought we would be sold out by now, but I think a lot of media reports (about the eclipse) only say Dallas, not Fort Worth. So, we’re a little slower to fill up,” he said. “But we’ll get there.”

Like many hospitality venues, The Worthington is providing special events to attract visitors and give them an experience beyond the short duration of the total eclipse.

Kyle Kremer, NASA Einstein Fellow at Caltech, will present a program on solar eclipses in collaboration with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

“We’ve been planning for this for some time,” Hayden said. “It was almost like planning for the Super Bowl, though not quite as much revenue, but still, it’s important for us and the industry.”

Texas expects to see more than 1 million visitors to the state because of the eclipse, according to estimates from Ray Perryman, president and CEO of Waco-based The Perryman Group. Perryman estimates those visitors will spend about $427.7 million in the Lone Star State. That means an economic impact of almost $1.4 billion. Fort Worth, Arlington and Grapevine will get a slice of that economic pie, with an estimated $53.9 million in direct expenditures and an economic impact of $197.2 million.

Sriram Villupuram, associate professor at TheUniversity of Texas at Arlington, echoes Hayden’s analogy, saying it’s a bit like the Super Bowl, except that it lasts just over two minutes.

“It’s unique in that it’s not a long event, but I think that’s good,” he said. “It’s not going to keep people locked up in that one place or at a concert for three, four or five hours. Given that I think people have come this far, they’ll do other things, so there’ll be a lot of nice spillovers.”

That presents opportunities for everyone to share in the spending that comes from the event, he said.

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Bob Francis | Fort Worth Report