The 2013 All-Star weekend brought with it some star-studded events, parties and lots of revenue to the greater Houston area.
"We know based on previous cities and what they have experience, at least $95 Million in economic impact from this weekend," said Greater Houston CVB spokesman AJ Mistretta. That's because the GHCVB estimates at least 22,000 additional people were in town over the weekend. They stayed in Houston hotels, ate in Houston restaurants, and spent time in local bars. Business owners including reserve 101's Mike Raymond are eating it up.
"We've been busy, it's been great, sales are up compared to a regular weekend," said Raymond. It was the same for shops, many which held specific events to host incoming crowds. The BCBG store at the Pavilion Downtown is just one of many catering to NBA fans.
"January was better than our December month and this week has already surpassed what we did in January so this weekend elevated us about 30% to 40%" said Shawnte Thomas, BCBG's Manager. But bigger crowds aren't always a good thing. Just ask Darren Anderson who went shopping at the Galleria Saturday evening.
"Very crowded, very hard to move around, it was very hot in there as well because so many people had been at the mall for all star weekend," said Anderson. Pictures sent to us by FOX 26 viewers show what it was like inside the mall before security and Houston PD shut it down. At around 8:15pm mall staff say the Galleria reached legal capacity. Doors were closed and shoppers asked to leave.
"I've never seen anything like that in my life as far as the crowds, like I said it's very hard to move and people were just standing around," said Anderson.
The traffic around the area was at a standstill for hours. It led some to believe some parts of Houston were not ready to handle visitors.
"They should've been a little more prepared in the Galleria area because everyone wants to migrate to one place and you have to have a back up plan for where people can go," said Thomas.
"I'm sure there will be a lot of things we can learn from but I know for sure that Houston can handle anything," said Mistretta. That's a good thing because experts say expect Houston to become a new hotspot and tourism destination in the near future.