“Once upon a time, the planets and the fates and all the stars aligned …”
— Taylor Swift
Global superstar Taylor Swift isn’t only one stealing fans’ hearts around the world with her Eras Tour: She’s taking center stage in a global tourism boom, and everyone from tour operators to world leaders to travel advisers are taking notice.
Those who travel know that entertainment, such as sporting events and concerts, are intrinsically tied to the travel industry, but there’s been nothing like this before. Swift’s U.S. tour, which spanned 20 cities across five months, brought in $5 billion in direct spending.
The U.S. Travel Association estimates the entire impact of her U.S. tour could be as high as $10 billion. QuestionPro compares the initial $5 billion as greater than the gross domestic product of over 50 countries.
The city of Pittsburgh, for example, reported 145,579 people in attendance for Swift’s two weekend concerts, which were in June. Of those, only 17 percent were from within Allegheny County, with the rest coming from farther away, encouraging greater travel spending through plane tickets, hotel stays and more.
Countywide hotel occupancy for that period was up 31 percent from the same time in 2022, reaching 95 percent, with hotel rates ballooning 106 percent higher than in June 2022. In fact, the month of June broke the highest hotel tax revenue in the county’s history.
“Concerts are such a big draw for out-of-town visitation for destinations like Pittsburgh,” said Jerad Bachar, President & CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH. “These concerts are an integral part of our overall calendar of events every year. Last year, we had over 20 mega concerts at our three stadiums from April to October. Those 20 concerts are critical for everything we do. They also support a lot of other events and venues that are here. …The impact is felt throughout the entire community.”
The total for Pittsburgh? Some $46 million in direct economic impact.
The Taylor Swift Travel Era is going strong. Tour operators like Contiki are offering combined tour and concert experiences for Swift’s European tour, while others within the industry are finding unique ways to bring Taylor Swift fans together — regardless of whether she’ll be there or not.
Marvelous Mouse Travels launched an intimate Taylor Swift fan cruise group experience for next year, reserving 50 cabins for the group on board an October 2024 sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.
“In My Cruise Era,” as the experience is called, quickly sold out the first 50 cabins. The agency opened a max of 200 cabins for the experience, which also sold out after the news gained popularity online, earning the travel agency a spot in some major headlines. The experience isn’t affiliated with Taylor Swift herself, but aims to bring Swifties together.
Kari Dillon, Owner of Marvelous Mouse Travels, said the success of her agency’s group is due to a desire “to share in what they love together and invest in experiences,” a desire that her agency, which began offering theme park vacations, is built upon.
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