This Thursday (5/23), the Austin City Council is poised to begin a process that will earmark over $1.2 billion of Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue for yet another expansion of the Austin Convention Center. Over the last decade or so, Austin's tourism industry has been flourishing. The revenue generated from the Hotel Occupancy Tax (a tax applied to hotel room bookings) has been growing rapidly, while the total number of convention center delegates has remained relatively static. Why is this?

The answer is in our local artists, musicians, businesses and rare natural treasures like Barton Springs. The success of Austin's tourism industry is centered on our unique culture, heritage and the protection of our environmental resources.

In contrast, best estimates indicate that the Austin Convention Center generates less than four percent (4%) of Austin's overnight visitors; yet it receives over seventy percent (70%) of Austin's annual Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue. At a time when our local artists, musicians and local business owners are struggling to keep pace with the growing costs of living and doing business, it makes no sense to perpetuate this imbalance by dedicating over a billion dollars to another convention center expansion.

We need your help in getting council to rethink its direction and to, instead, promote and support tourism that emphasizes what makes Austin, Austin: its diverse culture, heritage, environment and locally owned business.

Please email the Austin City Council to tell them to STOP THE $1.2 BILLION CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION, and instead, truly study the best use of these funds and how they can be used to support Austin's cultural, heritage and environmental tourism.

Click here to send an email to the Austin City Council.

Suggested Email:

"Mayor and Council,

Please remove the Austin Convention Center from the direction included within Item 29. Austin tourism is built through the hard work and creativity of Austin's artists, musicians, performers and local business owners, and in the beautiful parks and clean waters of our city. The Austin City Council should prioritize the use of Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue to promote and support the people, places, and activities that both tourists and residents love.

[Your name]"