Saturday, October 23, 2010
Published today as the lead article in the e-mailed newsletter of the City of Austin's Cultural Arts Division, Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office (EGRSO):
Dear [first name],
I know you are aware of the City's effort to forge a strong working relationship among our Art and Cultural Contractors and our Tourism Industry and ACVB. The following is an update on the Hotel Occupancy Tax working group.
For the past three months, a group of community members representing the cultural contractors, hotel and lodging industry, and Austin Arts Commission have been meeting to develop strategies and partnerships in which arts & cultural organizations and hotels can work collaboratively to increase tourism and overall funding for the bed tax. We have had a number of very productive meetings and the group has identified four areas for concentrated work as we move forward:
1. Develop action items to brand and improve marketing of events, including creating structures for providing content to existing websites (www.austintexas.org and www.nowplayingaustin.com) and driving that content to the hotels for their guests and other potential event attendees.
2. Discern how leisure travel market (and the "drive market") can be developed using Austin's arts and culture resources and events.
3. Create multi-media strategies for long-range, fill-in-the-gaps planning for Austin tourism during non-peak travel periods, as well as regional collaborations with cities such as San Marcos and San Antonio.
4. Institutionalize relationships between the arts community and hoteliers so long term strategies continue and grow.
These actions will increase the audience for small art and culture contractors.It will also result in new revenues that will benefit the youth and disadvantaged as well as local hotels.
I want to point out that the recent article in the Austin Business Journal gave a misleading perception of the City's funding of arts and culture and was based on incomplete and inaccurate information. This has not deterred the working group nor changed our core goals.
We remain committed to continuing this important work and hope the strategies and recommendations will increase tourism in Austin, provide broader international and national recognition of Austin's arts and cultural organization, and ultimately, increase the Hotel Occupancy Tax.
EGRSO Executive Director