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Eclipse Tourism Could Help Repair Texas Town Roads

Eclipse glasses, eclipse campers

The following is report from FOX 59.

Tourists looking for a good spot to view the April 8 eclipse are hitting the road. A new report from rental company RVshare found a 2,000% increase in RV rentals for the weekend of April 8 compared to the same time last year.

The RV rental surge could help many small towns along the eclipse path, such as Ingram, Texas.

“We’re going to have vendors from the local area, we’re going to have bands on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we’re going to have a VIP tent for some people who just come in on Monday,” said Marvin Willis.

Willis serves as the eclipse watch party event organizer for Ingram. The town, with a population of nearly 2,000 residents, is a few miles west of Kerrville. That area of the state is expected to see up to nearly 500,000 visitors during the eclipse.

“We’ve never had 100,000 people in our town, but we’d love to have as many as we can take,” Willis said.

According to Willis, their festival grounds have hookups for 12 large RVs and around 200 small campers. Since publishing news about their festival on his Facebook page just one week ago, they’ve had nearly one hundred people say they’re going to the watch party.

“It’s going to be hard to travel from one side of the town to the other,” Willis said.

Funds raised at the four-day watch party will go back to the town, repairing the very roads many RVs will be driving in on.

“We’re a small city, we can use it. I mean, I hit two potholes on the way home today,” Willis said.

Willis can likely expect even more RVs visiting as the eclipse approaches. According to RVshare, they’re seeing seven times as many rentals as they typically do during Memorial Day weekend, usually the company’s biggest weekend of the year.

“I think a lot of people are interested in watching the eclipse from the beautiful like hill country,” said Maddi Bourgerie, travel expert with RVshare.

According to Bourgerie, the greatest demand for RVs is in Texas, specifically in Austin and San Antonio.

RV demand has also spiked in Ohio and Arkansas, other states in the eclipse path.

“In the last Eclipse (in 2017), we saw about 150% of bookings jumped during that time. So we’re definitely seeing more interest this time around,” Bourgerie said that increased interest in this eclipse and awareness of the rental service likely contributes to this increase.

Read the full report here.

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