Unconventional austin

For A Tourism Plan, Uniquely Austin

“Currently, we are taking hotel occupancy tax revenue from all over Austin and from all the sources that generate it—live music festivals, the arts, our parks system—and we are investing that money into one industry.”

“Austin’s tourism industry has been growing so quickly not because of the Convention Center, but because the rest of the world has discovered that Austin is a great place to be, because of our live music, because of our beautiful natural setting, because of our arts scene. We are redistributing wealth from those things that people actually come to Austin to do and see to the convention industry, which, as we’ve seen, generates a tiny portion of overall tourism business.”

— John Riedie

ATX Tourism Commisioner, Distict 7

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We would like to send you, very occasionally, updates on our efforts and how you can be involved in our campaigns! There will be many ways to help out and many events to come out over the year!

We are a grassroots organized effort that depends on your support to fight for Austin. Please consider donating to ensure we can win against the downtown hotel interests.

And, please join Unconventional Austin in asking our Mayor and City Council to prioritize City funding for cultural and heritage tourism—including live music, the arts, local business, Austin's parks and scenic areas, our historic sites, and our cultural districts and museums.


A Cap on Convention Center Expenditures ​

 Our petition would limit the Convention Center to 34% of our Public Tourism budget generated by our hotel tax. The other two-thirds would support what we love all around Austin —rather than lock up most of our hotel tax dollars downtown.

A Public Vote on Expansions

 Our petition would require a vote of the public for any major expansion of the convention center. We got to vote on the $110 million expansion in 1998. We should have a right to vote for a $1.2 billion expansion today.

Allocate 2/3rds of HOT tourism dollars to arts, cultural,and environmental tourism.*

Austin is the Live Music Capital of the world, and yet we only spend small portions of our tourism dollars on music venues, promotion, or events. Austin must make our tourism spending match what both visitors and residents love most about Austin: live music, the arts, uniquely Austin local businesses, parks, and historic preservation.

Promote Our Small Businesses

Just recently we lost Threadgill’s World Headquarters. We lost two theatres on Manor Road. We lost El Gallo and El Azteca, It looks like we may be losing Beerland. We almost lost the Saxon Pub. Meanwhile the convention center is hording hotel taxes that can and should be promoting and helping our uniquely Austin theatres, restaurants, art spaces, and shops.


*Although Chapter 351 of the Texas Tax Code places certain limits on the use of Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue, there are still numerous methods with which the City of Austin can support and enhance the cultural tourism industry, including advertising and conducting solicitations and promotional programs to attract tourists to geographically dispersed areas of Austin (not just Downtown) and investments in multipurpose, performing arts and live music venues, as authorized under Chapter 334, Subchapter H of the Texas Local Government and other applicable laws.

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