“A New Vision for Austin’s Convention Center” Includes Community, Business, Arts and Tech Leaders; Photo: Thomas McConnell
A New Vision for Austin’s Convention Center, a coalition of community leaders in support of expanding the Austin Convention Center, was announced today.
The coalition is backed by a diverse group of Austinites representing all areas of the city and a variety of industries, including arts and music, technology, and business, among others, who support the expansion of the convention center, thereby continuing to generate more jobs for all Austin residents. The coalition is led by a steering committee including former Austin Mayor Lee Cooke, Ted Siff, Mary Guerrero-McDonald, John Bernardoni, Ali Khataw, Girard Kinney, Karen Quintos and John Howard.
“According to the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, the hospitality industry has surpassed education as the Austin MSA’s third-largest employment sector,” Mary Guerrero-McDonald, coalition steering committee member and Austin chair of the Building Owners & Managers Association Local Regulatory Issues Committee, said. “We need to ensure those in the industry continue to not only have stable jobs, but that there are jobs available for minorities that allow for growth opportunities and upward mobility, such as those in the hospitality industry.”
Current demand for meeting and exhibit space in downtown Austin vastly exceeds the supply. The Austin Convention Center is forced to turn down nearly one-half of the requests for future bookings due to a lack of space or availability.
Convention center expansion serves as an economic engine for the city. Without the travel, convention and tourism industry, Travis County residents would have to pay an additional $1,080 per household in state and local taxes to maintain current levels of service.
In 2015, the greater Austin MSA welcomed 24.1 million visitors who contributed to $7 billion in economic impact and 124,000 jobs in our leisure and hospitality workforce.
“Our residents who work in the tourism and hospitality industry include countless small business employees, as well as artists and musicians who depend upon this income,” John Bernardoni, coalition steering committee member and driving force behind past efforts to save, restore and rejuvenate the historic Paramount Theatre, said. “It’s important for Austinites to know that we all benefit in revenue generated from the tourism industry.”
To learn more about the proposed convention center expansion or to join the coalition, please visit A New Vision for Austin’s Convention Center Facebook page.