Austin City Council Creates Tourism Commission to Help Direct Occupancy-Tax Dollars

Austin's Driskill Hotel

The Austin (Texas) City Council has voted to create a tourism commission to "provide expertise and recommendations to the city council concerning issues related to tourism and hotel occupancy-tax revenue collected by the city."

Among its duties will be to advise the city council on "recommendations for marketing related to the advertising of Austin, Austin special events, music, art, cultural and other existing or future tourist attractions. In addition, the new commission will provide guidance on "studies, reports, and plans related to the Austin Convention Center and any plans for expansion," as well as "any other items related to tourism and hotel occupancy taxes deemed necessary by the city council or the Tourism Commission."

The new commission will have 11 members, nominated by each council member and the mayor, and appointed by the council. The first meeting will take place no later than Aug. 28, 2018. A city spokesperson said a webpage for the commission will go live next week, and the Clerk's Office currently is accepting applications for the positions; interested parties can apply here.

According to the Austin Monitor, a 2017 study from economists at the Perryman Group found that Austin's tourism industry generated $9.1 billion in gross product in 2016, giving more than $100 million to the city from its share of the hotel occupancy tax; the state requires that those funds be spent on tourism-related expenditures.