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20101115_MissionB_0019The 2010 Winter Texan Survey, published bi-annually by the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), reports that an overwhelming majority of Winter Texans plan to return to the Rio Grande Valley this season. The study also reveals that Winter Texans spent more money in the Valley last year and stayed longer than two years ago.

Some 96.9 percent of study participants said they would return next year. Those who might not return cited “poor health (72.2 percent) or family concerns (40.5 percent) would be the most likely reasons to prevent them from returning.”

While some Winter Texans are concerned with terrorism or threat of violence (21.2 percent), most resorts are reporting that their reservations for the 2010-11 season are either about the same or better than last year’s reservations. Most resorts are reporting that they will not be sponsoring trips to Mexico this season, however.

This trend could benefit merchants and medical care providers on the U.S. side of the border, as last season it was estimated Winter Texans spent $46.2 million in Mexico border towns.

The number of Winter Texans making at least one trip to Mexico last season was down almost 10 percent from two years ago, with 86.5 percent in 2010, compared to 96 percent in 2008. When in Mexico, 74.8 percent of Winter Texans spent money on shopping items, with an average purchase of $37.63; 70 percent spent an average of $28.13 per trip on dining; and 54.7 percent spent an average of $83.17 on prescriptions.

In the U.S., Winter Texans spent appreciably more on routine, monthly purchases -- $7,200 in 2010, compared to $6,177 per household in 2008.

Spending on major purchases also increased by 3.7 percent -- to $3,501 per household in 2010.

Increases in major purchases came in the categories of house/condo, appliances, mobile homes and other major purchases. Declines in major spending occurred in major medical expenses, RVs, travel tours, property and furniture.

On the U.S. side, Winter Texans spent a total of $10,700 per household. With an estimated 75,000 Winter Texan households last season, the direct economic impact generated was $802.5 million in the Valley last season.

General conclusions of the survey are that the average Winter Texan has the following characteristics:

• is female (58 percent),
• is 70 years of age,
• is married (87.2 percent),
• is white (98.9 percent),
• has been retired more than one year (88.1 percent),
• has some college education (66.3 percent),
• is in a two-person household (92 percent),
• has an annual household income of $50,400,
• comes from Minnesota, Iowa, Canada, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri or Wisconsin (in order of ranking).

The “2010 Winter Texan Survey” was published by UTPA Valley Markets and Tourism Research Center of the College of Business Adminstration under the direction of Dr. Penny Simpson, D.B.A., Suad Ghaddar, Ph.D., and Xiaojing Sheng, Ph.D., with special assistance from Pooja Chopra.

The Winter Texan Times supports this survey by distributing the survey forms to Winter Texans and promoting participation.

This year’s survey included 1,138 Winter Texans and 84 RV and mobile home resort respondents. While most of the participants responded by mail, 25.8 percent completed the survey online.

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