Cities have been eclipse-planning for months, ready to capitalize on tourism boom

The total solar eclipse crossing over the U.S. on April 8 has been on the celestial calendar for centuries. 

And, while the lucky cities along the path of totality haven’t been counting down the days for that long, they’ve certainly had their sights set on capitalizing on this event for months; some, even years. 

Total solar eclipse path

The April 2024 solar eclipse will be visible, at least in part, to nearly everyone in the U.S. But the path of totality – where the moon will completely block the sun – is a 115-mile-wide region that stretches from southern Texas up through Ohio, then over to northern Maine.

Large cities in the path of totality include:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Carbondale, Illinois
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Plattsburgh, New York
  • Presque Isle, Maine

The farther you are from that path, less and less of the sun will appear to be blocked.

RELATED: It’s not too late to plan a trip to see the solar eclipse

Travel phenomenon


The City of Dripping Springs, Texas is preparing for the solar eclipse with a set of larger than life glasses on display at Veterans Memorial Park on March 5, 2024. (Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images)

The eclipse’s path to totality is also a path to profits. 

Those that were in the path of totality for the 2017 eclipse saw tourism bursts, and, since the path is even wider and more populated this time, an even greater economic impact is expected.

"In Nebraska, they had 700,000 people and it generated $127 million," Lisa Miller told FOX Television Stations about data from the 2017 eclipse. She’s a consumer strategist and president of a marketing consulting firm Lisa W. Miller And Associates. 

"So if you do that math, that's $187 per person." She says we could easily see spending at around $200 per person this year, especially since hotels have significantly higher prices.

AAA booking data showed hotels in the most popular cities were 48% more expensive during the eclipse weekend than they were the same time last year. 

RELATED: 2024 total solar eclipse: Why some states have issued warnings ahead of celestial event

What cities are doing


Image: Visit San Antonio

With the eclipse falling on a Monday, cities and towns along the path have lined up a weekend full of activities and watch parties to attract visitors. 

Marketing and other tourist officials have been planning for years in cities like San Antonio and Cleveland. 

San Antonio is at an advantage after getting a practice run last October for the annular solar eclipse

"Over a year ago, we started marketing the two eclipses," Andres Muñoz, Visit San Antonio’s chief marketing officer, told FTS. "We had plenty of submissions of hotels, of our parks, of our restaurants, of different places around San Antonio; they want to offer specials."

He said everyone has been moving around this event to really create something special. 

"We've looked at other cities in the world to try to see and engage that experience," he added. 

San Antonio receives 34 million visitors annually. Muñoz said it’s hard to predict how many will be there over eclipse weekend, especially since overlapping events may pull in even more of a crowd. 

The Valero Texas Open is that same weekend, for example, which is a similar story to the one that will be happening in the Midwest in Cleveland where the NCAA Women’s Final Four will take place right as the eclipse crowd rolls in. 

The Cleveland Guardians home opener happens to be on that Monday day as well.

Destination Cleveland’s senior manager of public relations, Nick Urig, said this combination really makes for "an incredible lineup of events" in the city.

Urig said his office is estimating upward of 200,000 day and overnight visitors for the eclipse.

He said a local organizing committee has been working together for about two years to pull together community resources to plan and manage all of the events, which includes NASA's Glenn Visitors Center – the only NASA center in the Midwest and, coincidentally, the only one in the path of totality.

RELATED: How to watch the total solar eclipse with NASA

Not only will cities see an economic boost from eclipse tourists, but those that live inside the path are likely to splurge on the day as well. 

"I mean, we're in Texas. We like to do things big," Miller said. "We like to party." She said her family is planning a huge party with food, drinks, glasses and shirts. 

In Texas alone, 12.8 million people live in the eclipse’s path that could all be planning to "party" for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Across the country, that number totals 32 million.

"It's going to be big," she said. 

This story was reported from Detroit.