National Travel and Tourism Week will be recognized in Lubbock in early May. At the last city council meeting, Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Gerlt said Lubbock’s tourism industry is a catalyst for local businesses and garners sales tax revenue with outside money.

According to Gerlt, Lubbock is the seventh most popular travel destination within the state, with 5.5 million visitors in 2014 spending more than $802 million. Gerlt said the sales tax revenue generated from tourism money equated to $534 in property tax savings per Lubbock household.

Chairman of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Market Lubbock, Tim Collins, said it is important for Lubbock to capitalize on opportunities that will draw more visitors, and visitors’ money, to the city. He said the city failed to pass a bond issue in 2008 that would have created soccer fields in the city and as a result, citizens of Lubbock now travel to surrounding communities for soccer tournaments and give other municipalities sales tax revenue that could be made here.

He said an estimated 40,000 more visitors would come each year had the city passed the $9 million bond issue. Although citizens would initially have paid more on taxes for the bond, there would have eventually been a return on the investment through additional tourism and sales tax revenue from outside of Lubbock’s economy.

National Travel and Tourism Week runs May 2-10.