ABILENE, Texas (KRBC/KTAB) – While they were ahead of last year’s numbers by $3 million in February, the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau has seen a significant drop in visitors in the Key City due to COVID-19.
“Just about everything in Texas happens in Abilene, as well as other places, but we do have a lot of Texas going on here,” Taylor County Commissioner Chuck Statler said.
A lot happening in Abilene indeed. From the LULAC baseball tournament to the events at the Taylor County Expo Center like Battle of the Cattle.
The visitors these events bring have been the backbone of the Abilene economy, but those numbers have been down this year due to the virus.
“Last year we hosted 377 groups, and this year it will be close to 180 groups,” she said.
That meant Abilene buses, hotels, restaurants and retails stores all suffered.
“That equated to about 14.2 million dollars that we lost in group business,” she said.
But things are picking up, thanks in part to weeklong events like the 98th Annual County Judges and Commissioner Association of Texas Conference put on by Taylor County Commissioner Chuck Statler.
“Bringing in 400 participants plus 100 vendors, that takes a lot of good hotel/motel nights, plus our restaurants, our gas stations, and the economic impact of this conference will be a positive,” he said.
All that business, Liles said, equates to around $400,000; a helpful drop in the bucket toward last year’s high of $500 million, a goal that gets closer one event at a time.
The 98th Annual County Judges and Commissioner Assocation of Texas conference will be held in the Abilene Convention Center from Oct. 5-8.
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