MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – McAllen city leaders are celebrating national travel and tourism week by highlighting all the city has to offer as a premier destination. City leaders also say how housing occupancy and tourism impact the city’s economy. 

The city says while the pandemic created challenges in the last two years for the tourism industry, they experienced record-breaking numbers.

“Throughout 2020 and 2021 McAllen continues to have one of the highest hotel occupancies in the nation,” said Alex Arevalo, who is the Interim Vice President for Visit McAllen. 

Arevalo says their city was an anomaly in the world of tourism.

“Numbers continue to be record-breaking and in 2021 McAllen had the highest hotel occupancy it has ever had at 75 percent,” said Arevalo.

The growth wasn’t a surprise to city manager Roy Rodriguez. 

“It’s an anomaly to the industry because the truth is that McAllen is always ahead of the curve, we’re always thinking ways to improve our community including the experience from our visitors this has been a deliberate effort on our part for the last eight years to really become a Destination city,” said Rodriguez. 

He states tourism is a large part of the city’s economy. 

“Revenue generated by the hotel industry in the year 2021 saw an increase of 49.8% compared to 2020; a total of $99.7 million in revenue was generated. He adds, “the revenue of the city of McAllen hotel industry will support the creation of 1578 jobs, generating $33.7 million dollars in labor income.”

Mayor Javier Villalobos notes one of the ways they became a destination city. 

“The hotel and motel tax helps us promote different activities which in essence makes other people want to come. People come from Mexico, from Canada,” said Villalobos. 

The city and Visit McAllen are collaborating for a weeklong event called destination celebration. In the hopes of further showcase tourism in the city and grow their economy.

The events happening this week are listed below.

Pop-Up Tourist Celebration, Tuesday, May 3  from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Located at McAllen Food Park, 1200 Ash Ave.

On Thursday, May 5 at 3:30, the event is Border Buttermilk; Located at McAllen International Airport, 2500 S. Bicentennial Blvd.,

There will also be a mural at all of the events that city leaders and visitors can paint on.