Join us to celebrate the many reasons Travel Matters
Kelly Thompson, Communications Director for the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau
The nation celebrates the 36th Travel & Tourism Week starting today, and Abilene’s commemorations are already off to a great start. Our city joins communities around Texas and the nation May 5-11 to applaud the industry and educate citizens about its role in our communities. This year’s theme is “Travel Matters,” a reference to the myriad ways travel affects quality of life. We’ve had a lot to be grateful for this year.
The Abilene Convention Visitors Bureau (ACVB) just debuted a new series of public service announcements that celebrate the faces and places in our community. We’re grateful to the many people who eagerly gave their time and passion to this project. We hope their community pride is contagious. See their work here, here and here.
Also, keep an eye on Visit Abilene social media this week as we share more ways travel benefits this community. We’re joining the efforts to honor Small Business, too, because 83 percent of travel businesses qualify as small businesses.
Our early celebrations also honored the many hosts who brought business to the city during the past year. At the annual Heroes of Tourism (HOT) Host Awards luncheon last week, the ACVB paid tribute to 69 local people and organizations that brought 121 meetings and events to the city during the past 12 months. All of them organized events that required 100 hotel room nights or more, and their totals were impressive. These 69 people brought 56,786 visitors to the city and had a direct impact of $20.8 million to our local economy.
Abilene hosted a total of 360 meetings and events during the past 12 months, with an economic impact of $26.6 million. The city’s central location, friendly people and choice of venues are a winning combination. A downtown hotel will add to the city’s allure and bring guests who will patronize our cultural and heritage venues and small business.
The Office of the Governor, Economic Development, Travel & Tourism tells us that 3.83 million travelers brought $455 million in direct spending to the Abilene area in 2017, translating into nearly $13 million in collected taxes. Indeed, if Abilene’s economy were to somehow lose travel business, each Taylor county household would need to pay $690 in taxes to maintain existing services.
We’re working hard to grow business. The ACVB was the driving force behind the recent increase in federal and state per diem, which should generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for our hotels. Because of the increase in per diem, the ACVB and local hotels can begin soliciting federal and state government group business.
Another big win is that Abilene’s sports market is poised to grow from smart investments in infrastructure. The new Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center, opening in early 2020, and the expanded, state-of-the-art facilities at our Taylor County Expo Center are keeping Abilene competitive to host a diverse range of events. We’re already booking new business thanks to those venues.
Please join us this week as we celebrate all the ways Travel Matters to Abilene.
Smile at strangers. It’s wonderful that the nation celebrates Travel Week when Abilene’s Western Heritage Classic and graduation parties hit town. Abilenians will see the value of travel all over town, as local hotels and restaurants entertain fill up with happy people celebrating family and history.
And finally, I hope you’ll consider Abilene to host your next group meeting, convention, reunion or sporting event. It’s a small way to make a BIG difference.
Find all the ways to enjoy Abilene, plan a meeting or host an event at www.abilenevisitiors.com