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Corpus Christi ranked as a top global tourist destination, attracting 5 million visitors a year

Advertised as the Gulf Coast Capital, Corpus Christi ranks number 53 on the Tourism Sentiment Index's top 100 most-loved places to visit in the world.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi is making headlines in the tourism industry with its ranking as a top one hundred most-loved place to visit in the world.

The Tourism Sentiment Index ranked Corpus Christi number 53 on the list. Visit Corpus Christi helps promote the city and said they were surprised at how high the city was ranked. However, they said it makes sense considering just how big the tourism industry is in the Coastal Bend.

"We're seeing that people want to be here as well," said Brett Oetting, president and CEO of Visit Corpus Christi. "That is proof by the literal millions of people that are choosing to travel here every single year."

Oetting said their marketing efforts across the country--even into Canada--are paying off. He said five million people visit Corpus Christi annually and even more to the Coastal Bend, generating $30 million in sales tax revenue for the city to use.

"The city's using that to turn around and hire police officers, hire firefighters, fix the roads, improve Cole Park, all those different types of things," Oetting said. "So, visitors are very, very important to our quality of life."

Corpus Christi tourism generates $1 billion in economic impact. Oetting said surveying visitors helps them understand how they feel about the city.

Despite complaints locals may have, he said they see more positive feedback on social media as many make plans to move to the area. He said current residents who share why they are proud to live in Corpus Christi can make a big difference.

"We want them to start stepping up and speaking more positively as well and telling their story and why they love Corpus Christi as well, cause that makes our job a lot easier if we can learn from each other," Oetting said.

An economic study by Visit Corpus Christi last June also found more people are visiting Corpus Christi than Galveston and South Padre Island--other popular coastal destinations in Texas. He said that helps the local economy when they eat at restaurants, stay at hotels and spend money in the area.

"They're talking with their kids and they're talking with their spouses about where do they want to go and they're saying Corpus Christi," Oetting said. "They're spending dollars on our community and that should make us feel very good."

Oetting said a big part of what is driving the tourism industry forward in Corpus Christi is not just from water-related activities. Local tourist attractions and restaurants are also significant factors.

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