CENTRAL TEXAS -- The fifth and final season of HGTV's hit home renovation show "Fixer Upper" starring Waco's Chip and Joanna Gaines premieres Tuesday night at 9/8 CT.
In the last four years or so, the husband and wife have redesigned 77 homes in Central Texas, where they have simultaneously grown their now-famous Magnolia brand into an empire and thrust their family into the national spotlight.
The program was an instant hit for HGTV and became the cable network's flagship show -- averaging nearly 3.2 million same-day viewers during Season 4.
The ratings translated to a major tourism boost in Waco. In 2016, more than 948,000 people visited Magnolia Market. So far this year, more than 1.3 million tourists have already made the trek to the site, according to Susan Morton, who is the tourism manager at the Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau. She anticipated there would be roughly 1.6 million by year's end.
Morton explained that overall tourism to all the city's major attractions was more than 1.5 million in 2016. In other words, more than 63 percent of tourists who visited Waco stopped by Magnolia Market. This year, overall tourism numbers in Waco have already reached more than 2.6 million.
"In large part, I would absolutely attribute it to the popularity of Magnolia and a change in perception about Waco," Morton explained. "In the past, most of our visitors came from within Texas. It was already a pretty popular vacation spot for families living in the state. But now, around half of our visitors come from out of state, which is bringing a lot of new eyes to the Waco that we love."
Tuesday's season premiere episode will feature a couple moving from Austin to buy their first home in Waco.
Season Five will include 19 one-hour episodes and feature public figures from professional athlete Tim Tebow to Former First Lady Laura Bush, who resides in McLennan County with her husband Former President George W. Bush.
Editor's Note: A prior version of this story included a statistic that was incorrectly provided the Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau, which later called to correct its previously stated statistic. The story has been updated to reflect the newer figure.
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