EL PASO, Texas - 2018 was a very good year for El Paso's hotels, an "anomaly" credited to the tent city facility for migrant teenagers in Tornillo, Texas.
"One of the biggest drivers in the occupancy rate for the City of El Paso was, that starting June 2018, we had a health and human services contractor servicing the facility in Tornillo, Texas, which was a lot of rooms," said Marco Ortega, the vice president for the local hotel-motel association.
Out-of-town workers hired by the federal contractor managing the facility in Tornillo were housed in El Paso hotels and motels. Tornillo is about a 47 minute drive southeast of El Paso.
"(The tent facility) is a controversial topic, but it did provide a positive economic impact," said Ortega.
Destination El Paso cites data released by the Smith Travel Research firm, who they say is the nation's leading travel research firm, showing El Paso's hotel occupancy rates were 72.8 percent for 2018.
The figure made El Paso the leader in the state when it comes to occupancy rate, up 7.9 percent from 2017.
What Destination El Paso says is most impressive of all is the rate for November, which saw El Paso hotels at 81.3% occupancy, up a whopping 17.1% over November 2017.
The money they made just in November 2018 - more than $18 million dollars - was an increase of nearly 30 percent over November 2017.
"Normally, November is a softer month. But this November was fantastic for everybody," said Ortega, "From far west to far east, we did amazing."
Year to date, hotel revenue in El Paso increased by 3.4 percent at $178,123,280. Destination El Paso told ABC-7 hotels also made an average of $68 per room in 2018, 25 percent more than they made per room in 2017.
Ortega told ABC-7 that although the Tornillo facility caused a "huge boom" for local hotels, he does not expect it to hold for 2019. He said the City and local leaders are working to attract more conventions to El Paso in order to keep the momentum going.