SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (KVEO) — Space exploration site, SpaceX, is growing and the demand for more employees is rising.

“No I would’ve never thought here!,” said Philip Russel, a SpaceX fan visiting from Georgia when asked if he ever thought Mars exploration would happen in South Texas.

Many space exploration fanatics are like Russel, flocking to Boca Chica Village for the orbital launch of the fully stacked Starship SN20 and Super Heavy B4.

“I wish I could be young enough to be trying to go to mars or even the moon,” said Russel.

SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk has asked for 500 more employees to temporarily move to South Texas, and local business owners say they are starting to benefit from tourism and new industry.

“We’ve seen a big uptick in SpaceX employees here so that’ been really cool, so I’ve noticed that in Brownsville as well a lot of business have said they have a lot of SpaceX employees,” said Christian Zanca, owner of the outdoor bar and food truck park, The Broken Sprocket.

According to the City of Brownsville hotel occupancy tax for the 2020 fiscal year, the city lost over $200,000 in revenue due to the pandemic, but for January through March of 2021, the city of Brownsville said that they are seeing a slow increase in tourism.

Over the years, we have seen quite an increase in this due to several businesses taking interest in having various events here or establishing Brownsville as their business location, which presents the need for hotels.

In summary, our hotel occupancy tax revenue is steadily increasing, but it has not recovered from where we were before the pandemic.

Felipe Romero, Communication & Marketing Director of the city of Brownsville

One hotel in Brownsville called America’s Best Value Inn said that they are booked up to 90% and most of the customers are SpaceX employees, but they said that they hope this trend continues to make up for the business lost in the pandemic.

Business owners like Zanca are trying to keep the trend going upward for future business to come.

“We really want SpaceX employees to feel at home here,” said Zanca. “We have a SpaceX employee discount so we have really been trying to welcome them.”