This money is certainly a positive for business owners in the tourism world, but it impacts everyone. "Without the impact of travel and tourism, every Texas household would pay an additional $840 in tax revenue, so tourism does affect everyone" says Liles.
Hot Hosts, or Heroes of Tourism, were honored for their work in attracting visitors to Abilene. One honored host explains how his idea for a small jam fest with his buddies turned into the Outlaws and Legends music fest, which has become the largest one stage event in Texas.
"This year, 80% of our people were from outside of Abilene, so the vast majority were travelers" explains singer, songwriter, and creator of Outlaws and Legends, Mark Powell.
Sports are another reason that many are attracted to Abilene each year. "Sports in general, the events and tournaments for Abilene bring in millions of dollars. Its a huge impact on Abilene" says Jon Smith, Abilene Youth Sports Authority Executive Director.
Sports alone accounted for 110 of the 268 total events that attracted folks to Abilene for multi-day stays and generated 11.2 million dollars in 2013. Sports also brought over 43,000 people into local hotels, and Smith is confident that they will be able to do more in the future.
"While we are doing a good job with what we have, we need to keep pushing for more facilities and more infrastructure because tourism is so big for Abilene" says Smith.
With big events like the Western Heritage Classic coming up soon, people will continue to head to Abilene as a tourist destination.
For more information on the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.
To see the calendar of events for Abilene, click here.
To learn about Outlaws and Legends, visit http://outlawsandlegends.com/
To find out more about the Abilene Youth Sports Authority, visit http://www.abileneysa.org/
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