ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Convention Center and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) is set to host its 21st Annual Hero of Tourism (HOT) Host Luncheon Tuesday, spotlighting travel and tourism in the past year.

With National Travel and Tourism Week having just wrapped up last Saturday, ACVB announced its theme for the 2022 HOT Host Luncheon: “The Future of Travel.”

According to ACVB, the COVID-19 pandemic caused ‘severe losses to the travel industry,’ but momentum to get out of the house, or town, has significantly built in the past year.

Tourism in Abilene showed a positive trend upwards over the past year, per ACVB’s press release.

“Economic Development & Tourism, show travel spending in Abilene was up 24.4%, for a total impact of $515.2 million being poured into the community,” the report cited from data gathered by Dean Runyan & Associates, released by the Texas Office of the Governor. “Travel employment was also up by 7.2%, with more than 3,800 employed in the travel.”

At the ACVB’s 21st Annual HOT Host Luncheon, it will honor certain community members who brought sizeable events to the City of Abilene. Additionally, six other Abilenians will be presented with awards in celebration of, ‘their championing of tourism and heroism in making a difference through travel.’

Local community leaders will be honored with these awards at the luncheon:

  • Community Awareness
  • Ambassador of Tourism
  • Centerstage
  • Sales
  • Housekeeping
  • Front Desk

The 21st Annual HOT Host Luncheon is set to take place Tuesday morning in Downtown Abilene.