TOURISM ECONOMIC IMPACT LOCALLY CHRONICLED
What industry has 7,764 people employed in the area with another 3,109 associated workers? Which one supports 1.5 of 4 municipal jobs? Has increased 66% in total revenue since 2009? If you guessed the local hospitality industry, you’d be correct. At the April 17 EDF all-member board luncheon, Chamber CVB Vice President Judy Young gave the latest figures on the local tourism industry (2017). The total dollar impact reported is $706.5 million annually, with over 56% of that coming from local restaurants, 24.6% from entertainment businesses locally, 17.7% from local accommodation firms, and 1.4% from transportation and travel firms.
A majority (60.3%) of worker earnings come from the restaurant sector. Total payroll exceeds $226.8 million. Total revenue for local taxing districts exceeds $32.6 million annually. Property taxes make up 47.2% of that followed by sales taxes making up 22% of the total. Young also explained the target marketing utilized by the CVB via research by Mind Ecology. Three dominant household personas are targeted across the state that give the maximum economic impact for invested marketing funds. Tourism IS economic development!
CITY MASTER PLAN NEARING COMPLETION
City Planning Director Chris Looney updated 200 attendees on the status of the city comprehensive plan with City Councilman and Plan Chair Ron Reaves at the April 17 EDF all-member board luncheon. At press time, the plan was now in 100% draft form and the Steering Committee had reviewed it. The timeline next is for the plan to be finalized by the Design Workshop group in Austin prior to being presented to the New Braunfels Planning Commission and then to city council in June. This will be the first citizen-led updated plan since 1999 and will guide the city’s growth and development until 2030 and possibly beyond.
Looney predicted the city population to be 91,974 in 2022, less than four years away. The population in 2010 was 57,740. The plan focused on nine major areas including growth & future land use, urban design & cultural, heritage, & historic preservation, parks & recreation, economic competitiveness, tourism, transportation, natural resources & infrastructure, education & youth, and facilities, services, & capital improvements. There have been 13 community wide workshops over the last two years, with another 5,556 participants on line, over 1,380 written citizen comments, 691 volunteers on the plan and 10 steering committee meetings. EDF Executive Director Michael Meek serves on the steering committee. Looney gave examples of the goals, strategies, and action plans in the document as well as the evolution away from current land use maps toward a hybrid combination of sub areas, corridors, and centers.