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As previously reported, I attended the Visitor Impact Task Force meetings representing local business and AIBA. My goal was to illuminate the significant, dare I say dominate, role of local business in attracting tourists. Local business and the very Austin scene we create is what people come here for. Tourists want to eat at our local restaurants, shop at our local businesses and tap a toe at our local clubs while listening to local musicians (local businesses one and all).Local business is also the economic driver of tourism. While tourists visit parks and gawk at the capitol, they spend money in businesses...local businesses to be precise. Obvious right?

While the Task Force was directed to review appropriation of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), AIBA was asking ofr .5% of HOT funds to create programing that tourists could partake of and promote local business to tourists. Yes, that's one half of one percent. Doesn't sound like much considering we're the cornerstone of the local economy. But the Task Force didn't see fit to include local business at all in its recommendations to City Council.

I've been busy in June visiting with City Council members about the importance of local business to tourism. It's not a hard sell. It's pretty obvious. The response has been very supportive. But, as you know, talk is cheap. The Task Force is making their recommendations but they are only that...recommendations. City Council can choose differently. Let's hope they choose local business.