A Message from Comptroller Susan Combs
With summer around the corner, Texas families will soon hit beaches, lakes and parks to enjoy the state’s rich recreational resources. They will stay in hotels and visit museums, theme parks and restaurants, generating dollars for local economies.
Tourism is a huge boost to the state’s economy, generating more than $60 billion in direct spending and employing more than half a million Texans in 2008.
As your strategic partner for local government management, the Comptroller’s office is pleased to present this issue of Texas Rising, which focuses on the economics of tourism with steps for becoming a must-see destination and promoting what your community has to offer.
In our cover story, we examine the state’s hotel occupancy tax and the welcome revenue stream it provides communities. While hotel/motel tax receipts dipped in 2009, they pumped $343 million into the state’s general revenue fund. They provided another $500 million in local tax receipts that helped Texas communities promote tourism, build needed facilities and stimulate economic development.
Next we visit the Alamo City, a longtime top Texas tourist destination. A major $384 million revitalization project will connect the city’s River Walk with its historic colonial missions. When complete in 2013, the new “Mission Reach” section will rehabilitate the river’s ecosystem and allow engineers to manage the river’s floodwaters in a more naturalized environment.
Smaller communities that lack the resources of their metropolitan counterparts are banding together to share resources and boost tourism. George West, about 60 miles northwest of Corpus Christi, benefits from its partnership with the Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council, which promotes its more than 60 Gulf Coast community members through an annual guidebook.
Also in this issue, we look at the state’s event trust fund, which has approved $53 million since 2003 to help Texas communities host major events like the Super Bowl and All Star Games. We share how your community might qualify for an event trust fund and benefit from the big revenues these events can generate for your area.
When it comes to economic development, creating jobs and generating new levels of prosperity, local governments in Texas are focused on rising to the occasion every time.
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