The Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Summer Games of Texas kicks off Thursday, with thousands of visitors expected to swarm the Corpus Christi area.
The City and event organizers held an introductory news conference on Thursday to announce the kick off of the event, which will feature 12 different sports including swimming, tennis, skateboarding and more.
Kiii-TV is a media sponsor of the event, and our very own Kiii News Anchor Jane Monreal was on hand for Thursday's announcement at the Ben Garza Gym.
The Games of Texas run through Sunday.
Of course, visitors to our area bring with them dollars to spend, providing a boost to the local economy. In fact, some local retailers were overwhelmed by the numbers during last year's Games of Texas.
Last year, officials said they were expecting only about 12,000 visitors and twice that many showed up. This year, they are expecting even more visitors for the four-day event, so officials decided to help businesses prepare.
Staffers of the Convention and Visitors Bureau have spent the last two days going to restaurant after restaurant to remind them to get ready. Last year, many restaurants did not plan ahead.
"We had some restaurants in the downtown area close to our hotels that ran out of food, and we certainly do not want that to happen this year," said Michelle Horine of the CVB.
While there is no way to pin down an exact number of visitors, one good indication is local hotels, who are already selling out for the four-day weekend event. The Omni Hotel, which won the contract to host the games, is sold out; and it's not just in Corpus Christi -- stretching from Rockport to the Island, there is little or no room at hotels.
"When you bring in an extra 20,000 people on top of your peak season, then it really takes a very integrated effort to make sure as many people as possible know, so that they can be prepared to serve our visitors with hospitality," Horine said.
Restaurants that were surprised last year said that this year, they made special preparations.
"We actually are anticipating about 9,000 extra people coming in, so we beefed up our staff and our on-hand inventory for this weekend," said Kyle Horstman, a restaurant manager.
The CVB conservatively estimates more than 25,000 spectators and athletes will be here, not only to take part in the games, but to enjoy other tourist attractions as well.
According to a breakdown from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, each tourist will spend $140 a day, and will be here an average 2.5 days. That means they will spend at least $8 million visiting the Coastal Bend.
Officials said they have been told by Summer Games officials that the city has been a favorite of Federation athletes and their relatives, and they say the city is likely to win the games the next time they open bidding, which could come in just a few years.
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