What is the economic impact of a solar eclipse?

Key takeaways

  • According to one estimate, Monday's total solar eclipse could generate $6 billion in economic activity.
  • Businesses in the path of the eclipse, from restaurants to psychics, are preparing for the arrival of visitors, with hotels fully booked and doubling their usual rates.
  • This phenomenon is a boon for short-term rentals like AirBnBs.

Monday's total solar eclipse will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for the 30 million people who live in its path and the millions who will travel to see it. It's an opportunity to spend money, and a lot of it.

The total economic impact, including secondary downstream effects, could provide a $6 billion boost to the U.S. economy, according to an analysis by The Berryman Group. The economic consulting firm says the eclipse could generate more interest than the previous total eclipse in North America in 2017 because its duration is longer and the next chance to see a similar event in North America won't come until 2044.

In fact, visitors from all over the world flock to the 115-mile-wide American band from Texas to Maine. They spend on everything from shelter to food, fuel and souvenirs, providing a burst of economic activity to towns and cities across the country.

Philip Powell, professor of economics at Indiana University in Bloomington, said the so-called 'path of totality' will attract truly unique events such as eclipses to audiences with discretionary incomes. several days.

„Multiply the impact of a typical large concert or sporting event by ten and understand the potential economic impact,” he wrote in a commentary, noting that there are long-term benefits as well. „Recurring visitors from afar are an important marketing opportunity for any region.”

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For hotels and short-term rental hosts, the effect is like having a Taylor Swift concert in every city and town at the same time, said Jamie Lane, chief economist at AirDNA, which provides data on AirBnBs ( ABNB ) and others. Short term rentals.

Sunday night total eclipse path rentals have a 92% occupancy rate, compared to 30% at the same locations during a typical week, Lane said.

According to AirDNA, short-term rentals in the path of the solar eclipse will be almost fully occupied on Sunday evening.


As demand increases, hotels and rentals can charge astronomical prices, Lane said, with short-term rentals 10% to 50% higher than their regular rates.

Paducah, Kentucky is getting another cosmic boost

A small part of the country is being treated to the second total eclipse in seven years. Paducah, Kentucky, one of the cities in Monday's path of totality, experienced a similar event in 2017.

Vic Patel, who owns two hotels in Paducah, said his 150 rooms are fully booked and visitors from China have been snapping up rooms since last September. He was charging $300 for rooms that would normally go for $150, though he threw in a few extras like eclipse glasses and donuts.

Overlooking the Paducah River on the Ohio River.

Good pictures

Paducah's region has 150,000 visitors, said Liz Hammonds, director of the Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau.

„It's a big turnout in a part of the state that doesn't always get as much love as some parts of the state,” he said.

Like many towns and cities in the path of the total eclipse, Paducah is holding special events for the event. In this case, merchants and vendors throw a two-day „X-marks-the-spot” festival to commemorate the town's lucky spot where the paths of two different total eclipses cross.

Festival organizer Susan Edwards, owner of the Wildhair Studios crystal shop, said merchants expect an influx of business from eclipse tourists and cater to all kinds of requests. Psychic readers will be available in her shop for visitors looking for new age insights with cosmic phenomena.

„It has all kinds of mystical and astrological significance,” he said. „So it's a wide range of interest for the different types of people that are here.”

The economic impact goes beyond hotels and restaurants.

„People stop here in Paducah to buy fuel, and that's going to be a big deal,” Hammonds said. “Even if people come here for the day, they get some groceries or snacks on the way back home. That money will be injected into our economy and we are truly grateful for that.

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