Leander Chamber of Commerce provides updates on hotel occupancy tax funds, budget recap

The Leander Chamber of Commerce provided an update on hotel occupancy tax funds, budget expenses and goals for the upcoming year at the Feb. 2 Leander City Council meeting.

Last year’s budget for the chamber was $126,556, according to chamber documents. The money was spent on information centers, advertising, promotion and improvement of the arts, historical preservation and restoration projects, and signage to direct the public to city attractions.

In 2020, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Leander opened, making it the first and only hotel in Leander, and kickstarting the city’s collection of hotel occupancy tax. The chamber received $247,281 since the beginning of its hotel contract. Out of that amount, the chamber has $46,645 left to spend.

Chamber President and CEO Bridget Brandt said the remaining amount could potentially be used for a statue, signage for Old Town Park or a hotel study.

“We’re not able to do [big projects like that] on an annual basis, because our budget is too small, and we just can’t,” Brandt said at the Feb. 2 meeting. “So we started setting aside funds each year to be able to aggregate those funds to be able to hold and eventually do some of the larger projects that we have as a goal.”

In 2022, engagement from the chamber’s blog and social media posts grew to 41,564 views—a 53.8% jump from 27,023 views in 2021. Brandt credits the jump to the recent change in content and it now being “more meaningful, more valuable and more consistent.”

Chamber goals for 2023 include a brand-new website and migration to a new system, which allows the ability to use kiosks, and assists the city in conducting a hotel study and the official launch of the Trail of Trains Scavenger Hunt.

“It’s a whole lot

Read the rest

Copa Airlines To Launch Flights To Austin

Copa Airlines announced on Monday that it will begin new flights from Panama City to the capitol of Texas this summer. The new route becomes the 16th US destination for the flag carrier of Panama. The news comes after the carrier announced new service to Baltimore last month.

The new flights also mark the first time Copa has flown to Austin since it started operations more than 70 years ago. The airline said the service would connect Texas with the rest of the continent through the Hub of the Americas in Panama City.


austin“Hello, Austin!

The Star Alliance Airline confirmed that flights to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) from Tocumen International Airport would commence on July 6th, 2023. Flights will operate four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, departing Panama at 9:18 and arriving at AUS at 14:04. The return flight will operate on the same days, departing AUS at 15:34 and arriving back in Panama at 20:16.

Copa Airlines’ Vice President of Global Sales and Distribution Christophe Didier said the carrier is excited to offer more connectivity to its passengers.

“We continue strengthening our network of destinations in the U.S. and incorporating this new route represents a window of opportunities to increase commerce, tourism, and cultural and educational exchanges between the state capital of Texas, Panama and our entire region. We’re pleased to offer greater connectivity to our passengers and contribute to the growth of tourism and commerce in Panama and the countries we serve.”

The Live Music Capital of the World

WalletHub recognized the city of Austin in 2019 as the second-best destination for summer travel. In the past few decades, the cosmopolitan and sophisticated city has been known as the Live Music Capital of the World for becoming renowned

Read the rest

‘Beautiful’ Spanish city named one of the world’s most desirable destinations | Travel News | Travel

A new study by Premier Inn looked at search data to find the destinations tourists are looking at most. The team excluded capital cities to find the world’s best “alternative capitals”. A gorgeous city in Spain took the top spot.

World’s best alternative capitals

  1. Malaga, Spain
  2. Venice, Italy
  3. San Francisco, USA
  4. Antalya, Turkey
  5. Brighton, UK
  6. Perth, Australia
  7. Hurghada, Egypt
  8. Porto, Portugal
  9. Antwerp, Belgium
  10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

READ MORE: ‘Spectacular’ Scottish staycation destination is just like ‘Caribbean’

Tourists could also visit the city’s Cathedral or admire the art at its Picasso Museum. The famed artist was born in the city.

While Malaga is a top destination on its own, many tourists fly there to travel to one of the nearby Costa del Sol beach resorts.

Marbella is less than an hour’s drive from Malaga while British favourites, Fuengirola and Benalmadena are even closer.

The Costa del Sol coastline is regarded as one of Spain’s most beautiful beach regions and is very popular with Britons.

READ MORE: Tourists should ‘make themselves known’ at hotel

Turkey’s Antalya came in fourth place and is a leading beach destination for British tourists in the summer.

Although flights to Turkey usually cost more than to Spain or Portugal, tourists will usually find everyday essentials such as food and drink to be much cheaper.

Brighton took the fifth spot and the highest position in the UK after London. The seaside destination has a lively nightlife scene and some of the country’s best fish and chips.

Hurghada, Perth, Porto, Antwerp and Rio de Janeiro also made the list, providing plenty of holiday inspiration for 2023.

Read the rest

A Silver Dollar City employee has died following incident at the park

Officials at the popular Silver Dollar City in Missouri have confirmed an employee has passed away at the park near Branson, Missouri after an incident.

On Wednesday, Silver Dollar City confirmed that one of their employees had died whilst working at the park after obtaining an injury. On Thursday, they made the following statement to silver-dollar-city-employee-injured-during-incident-wednesday/”KY3:

‘It is with great sorrow that we share the loss of a Silver Dollar City employee following an incident that occurred while working late yesterday afternoon. He was a dedicated and passionate member of our Silver Dollar City family, having worked in maintenance and construction since 2017.’

‘Our prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. Out of respect for their privacy, we are unable to provide any further information.’

The park was able to confirm that no guests were injured in the incident, but is yet to release any more details of the incident. According to Kansas City Star, it is understood that the employee worked in the park’s maintenance and construction department for about five years. An inquiry is being carried out by the Occupational Health and Safety Association.

It was also confirmed on Thursday that the park would be open as usual, despite the investigation.

Press release from Silver Dollar City http://www.silverdollarcitypress.com/

Other theme park fatalities in the US

Unfortunately, the incident at Silver Dollar City means that three people have lost their lives at American theme parks in the last year alone.

Tyre Sampson, only 14 years old, lost his life after falling from the Orlando Freefall. Necessary requirement checks were not carried out and the weight exceeded the limit massively. Since the tragic incident, the family have filed a negligence lawsuit against the park. Countless protests have also happened

Read the rest

Scarlett Moffatt reveals her top travel hack – and the embarrassing item she never holidays without

GOGGLEBOX star Scarlett Moffatt shot to A-list fame in 2016 when she was crowned Queen of the jungle for the 16th series of I’m A Celebrity.

Since then, the TV star has been lucky enough to travel the world, but surprisingly her top tip for going on holiday won’t cost you a penny.

Scarlett Moffatt, who has revealed her travel secrets, says she always goes for the stodge at a buffet breakfast


Scarlett Moffatt, who has revealed her travel secrets, says she always goes for the stodge at a buffet breakfastCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
Scarlett on a staycation with her mum


Scarlett on a staycation with her mumCredit: Tiktok/scarlettmoffatt

“Do you know what my biggest travel tip would be?” she says.

“Be nice to EVERYONE.”

And by everyone – Scarlett means anyone that works in the airport, especially at the moment, with so much chaos.

“I always make sure I ask people how their day is going – of course they’re going to help you more if you’re a nice person.”

Mark Wright reveals the common travel mistake he always makes
Posh girl Toff reveals her hack for bagging the best seat on the plane

She’s also not one for glamour at airports – her solution to travelling long-haul is to ditch the jeans and opt for comfort.

“I’m not one of those people who looks glam in the airport and I’m always so envious of those people in white tailored trousers, a blazer and with matching luggage.

“I dress for comfort on a plane.”

“I once wore jeans on a flight and thought I was going to implode!

“I kept going to that bathroom just to do undo them.”

Comfy clothes aren’t top of Moffatt’s packing list though.

The one thing the star never boards a plane without is her childhood Noddy teddy.

“I’ve had it since I was three and he just goes everywhere with us,” she laughs.

“I think it’s because he makes us feel safe so I pack him in my bag for when I’m on the plane.”

Despite having a

Read the rest

Venice to start requiring day-trip reservations, fees

Starting in January, Venice will oblige day-trippers to make reservations and pay a fee to visit the historic lagoon city, in a bid to better manage visitors who often far outnumber residents in the historic center, clogging narrow streets and heavily used foot bridges crossing the canals.

Venice officials recently unveiled new rules for day-trippers, which go into effect on Jan. 16.

Tourists who choose not to stay overnight in hotels or other lodgings will have to sign up online for the day they plan to come and pay a fee. These range from 3 to 10 euros ($3.15 to $10.50) per person, depending on advance booking and whether it’s peak season or the city is very crowded.

Transgressors risk fines as high as 300 euros ($315) if stopped and unable to show proof they booked and paid with a QR Code.

Roughly four-fifths of all tourists come to Venice just for the day. In 2019, the last full year of tourism before the pandemic, some 19 million day-trippers visited Venice and provided just a fraction of the revenue from those staying for at least one night.

Venice’s tourism commissioner brushed off any suggestion that the measure would seek to limit the number of out-of-towners coming to Italy’s most-visited city.

“We won’t talk about number cutoffs. We’re talking about incentives and disincentives,” Simone Venturini told a news conference in Venice.

The reservation-and-fee approach had been discussed a few years ago but was put on hold during the pandemic. COVID-19 travel restrictions saw tourism in Venice nearly vanish — and let Venetians have their city practically to themselves, for the first time in decades.

Large numbers of tourists stroll in downtown Venice, Italy.

Large numbers of tourists started traveling to Venice in the 1960s as the number of residents in the city dwindled, overwhelmed with congestion.

(Luca Bruno / AP

Read the rest