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Americans Are Spending Big to Celebrate the Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse

The United States has seen its fair share of big-spender events over the last year or so: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, the Super Bowl, the Barbie movie—take your pick. And while all of those were manufactured spectacles, one natural occurrence is sitting right up there with them.

Americans are expected to fuel another economic boom with travel and tourism to see the total solar eclipse in April, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. Along the path of totality, hotels are sold out, festivals are at full capacity, and locals are planning for some of the biggest crowds they’ve ever seen.

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“We know how to host big events, but this is huge—bigger than the Super Bowl and the Indy 500 put together, plus the state fair, which is 18 days long,” Amy Howell, the vice president of tourism at the Indiana Destination Development Corporation, told the Post. “We’re expecting to have all of those visitors in one day.”

In total, Indiana is expected to see 500,000 tourists, more than seven times the amount of people who came for the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, Howell said. Those numbers are reflected in the extra revenue cities and states are expecting across the country. Texas, which is set to see the largest influx of visitors, could make some $428 million, the Waco economist Ray Perryman told the Post. Johnson County, Indiana, may see an additional $25 million. And Rochester, New York, is looking at about $10 million.

Arkansas is yet another state anticipating an impressive bump next month: Michael Pakko, an economist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, told the newspaper that he thinks his state could receive $105 million.

“This is likely going to be the single biggest tourism event we’ve ever had,” he said. “Obviously, it’s going to be a short duration—a long weekend—but for that concentrated period of time, it’s going to be a very big deal.”

And while some are opting for DIY experiences once they get to a locale in the path of totality, others are spending big on pre-planned events. Holland America is offering a 22-day Solar Eclipse Cruise, the Post noted, and T.E.I. Tours and Travel is hosting private flights along the path of totality for $9,750 per person. Given that the next total solar eclipse won’t happen for another 20 years, that very well may be worth it.

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