Space Center Houston Empowers the Houston Area as a Significant Economic Leader
A new economic impact study details the many ways the nonprofit Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center, helps drive the greater Houston economy and tourism, provides employment and supports Houston’s brand as “Space City.”
This study affirms Space Center Houston’s growing contribution to the regional economy by generating opportunities for people of all ages with robust immersive learning experiences.
“We’re fueling the Houston area through regional, national and international tourism,” said William T. Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston. “As a leading science center, we’re striving to enrich the lives of our community, serve the public and make space and science learning accessible for everyone.”
During 2018, Space Center Houston generated an estimated total economic impact of $118.7 million, $53.7 million in personal income, $4.8 million durable goods purchases and supported 1,710 full-time jobs in the greater Houston area according to a study conducted by Quanticon, LLC researchers Stephen Cotton, PhD, and Jason Murasko.
The center employed 300 full-time workers in 2018 and reported $27 million in operating expenses and gross compensation. According to the study, this resulted in $33.9 million in business-volume impact, an increase of $21.9 million in personal income, and $2.0 million in durable goods purchases. Additionally, 403 jobs were created as a result of the multiplier effect, resulting in 703 total jobs created by Space Center Houston operations.
Its visitors contribute to the regional economy through purchases of food, lodging, transportation, and other recreational and retail expenses.
As a major draw in Houston, the center has a significant impact on local tourism-related businesses, to which the study attributed $18.9 million a year to local restaurants and $11.1 million to local hotels, as well as $3.5 million in tax revenue for state and local governments.
The study demonstrates the center’s continued record-breaking growth. The new study found more than a 63 percent increase in total economic impact and an 85 percent increase in local area jobs compared to the 2015 study.
According to the new study, the increase comes from three primary drivers: the increase in annual visitors; more robust economic conditions that have supported a stronger local “multiplier” effect; and the increase in disposable income as the economy continued its improvement from the 2008-2009 recession.
The leading science and space exploration learning center had multiple record-breaking attendance months this year and ended June as its best June ever. This month Space Center Houston drew visitors from 49 countries for its series of events celebrating the Apollo 11 mission 50th anniversary, yielding its best single day attendance ever with more than 13,000 people in attendance on July 20. The center ended 2018 with nearly 1.1 million annual visitors, marking its highest annual attendance since opening in 1992.
For the past several years, the center has experienced significant milestones. It’s a Smithsonian Affiliate, a designated Certified Autism Center, continues to be the No. 1 destination in Houston for international visitors according to Houston First and draws people from around the world to participate in its leading educational programs such as Space Center University.
“We’re committed to stimulating curiosity in the minds of the young and the young at heart,” said Harris. “Space continues to be the great frontier and we are honored to engage increasing numbers of visitors to understand how NASA is leading research into understanding our planet, galaxy and beyond to benefit humanity.”
There’s always something new to see and do at Space Center Houston. In the coming months, the center will add its first commercial space exhibit – a SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage booster. The booster will be displayed horizontally, allowing guests to walk underneath the flown rocket. It’s one of only two SpaceX Falcon 9 boosters on display and the only science center in the world to have one.
The center is committed to providing authentic learning experiences and engaging people of all ages to get on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pathway. Through hands-on space-related exhibits and education programs, the center continues to meet the needs of the 82 percent of visitors coming from outside the Houston area, including one-third from around the world.
Start on a lifetime journey of learning. Become a member and come back free as often as you like for one year, plus get free parking after the first visit. Tickets are available online at spacecenter.org or at the door. Prices range from $24.95 for children to $29.95 for adults, with discounts for seniors and members of the military.