Thursday, October 15, 2020

Council Members Propose Support for Austin Legacy Businesses as Iconic Tourist Destinations Through a Visitor Information Centers Program


For immediate release:
Oct. 15, 2020
Contact: 
Jason Lopez, Office of Council Member Ann Kitchen, Jason.lopez@austintexas.gov, 512-978-2105
 

Council Members Propose Support for Austin Legacy Businesses as Iconic Tourist Destinations Through a Visitor Information Centers Program

On the October 15, 2020 City Council Agenda (Item 80), Council Members Kitchen, Pool, Tovo and Alter propose creating a Visitor Information Center Fund and developing, as an initial project, distributed Visitor Information Centers at various tourist destinations around town.
 
The Visit Austin website (https://www.austintexas.org/) identifies several tourist destinations and lists them as "Iconic Austin Music Venues" and "Iconic Austin Restaurants", and this proposal recommends assessing their need for assistance to avoid loss, their interest in participating as a recognized iconic tourist destination, and other criteria to evaluate their potential to function as Visitor Information Centers for Austin's tourist economy. The draft resolution is available here: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/city-council/2020/20201015-reg.htm#080
 
This proposal aligns with previous City Council action (Resolution No. 20200326-091) to consider other possible options for uses of existing Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT), and creates an opportunity to redefine Austin's Visitor Information Centers as destinations that provide an authentic Austin experience in their original locations, both informing and entertaining visitors with authentic Austin culture.
 
"These iconic businesses make Austin a world-renowned destination," said Council Member Alter. "As we navigate the economic impacts of this pandemic, the City should explore every opportunity to support the places that make Austin a special place to visit."

"We have a duty to be as courageous and innovative as Austin itself in order to save our city's unique character. It's our live music and cultural vibrancy that attracts visitors from around the world, and we have the means and the money to do it. We just need the will to make it happen," said Council Member Pool.

Council Member Tovo added, "Austin is a premier tourist destination in large part because of the unique legacy of the local businesses that have long made the Capital of Texas a vibrant spot for visitors from around the world. We should consider innovative and bold measures to ensure their survival."

"These places are the heart and soul of Austin.  They draw people here from around the world to enjoy Austin's one-of-a-kind sights, sounds, and experiences," said Council Member Kitchen. "Let's be creative and take this opportunity to both ensure our City's reputation as the best place to visit while helping these places be more sustainable for generations to come."
 

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