Last year, AIBA attended meetings of the Visitor Impact Task Force to present the idea that our unique local businesses are a huge tourist draw. Not only are tourists seeking the unique Austin experience but dollars spent at a local business puts more than three times the money into our local economy. This benefits us all without tourists spending more money—just spending it at a locally owned business.
We were successful in getting the Austin City Council to allocate a one-time $200,000 grant to marketing local business to tourists. The money comes for the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) that visitors pay when they stay at an Austin hotel. This is also called the bed tax since it is charged per night. We are the only city in the nation to devote some of these funds to promoting local business. This was quite an achievement.
AIBA did submit a proposal for this grant but we were not awarded the grant by the City Council. We have been unable to obtain a copy of the proposal from LookThinkMake, LLC so have no idea what they intend to produce with the grant. But the time frame for completion was only a few months so the execution of the project should be very visible very fast. Look for a new campaign around Austin promoting local business.