Discover Austin releases 2017 annual report

Nancy Schnable, executive director of Discover Austin

Discover Austin, Minnesota, Executive Director Nancy Schnable presented Discover Austin’s 2017 annual report to the Austin City Council during its regular meeting on Monday, May 7.

In the report, Schnable listed several of last year’s highlights, such as Austin being named among the top five finalists in the contest to be named Best Minnesota Town. She also pointed out that Discover Austin was nominated for the Austin Area Small Business of the Year award and received the President’s Award from the Southern Minnesota Tourism Association.

Schnable broke down last year’s tourism numbers as follows:

• Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau 2017 Visitor’s Guide distribution – 916 emailed, 671 mailed, 2,536 distributed in welcome bags, and 13,237 displayed at travel information centers, locally and through other regional partnerships. Forty-nine states requested copies of the ACVB Visitor’s Guide, with most requests coming from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Texas as well as within Minnesota. Twenty-eight countries also requested ACVB Visitor’s Guides, with most requests coming from Brazil, Russia and Algeria.

• Newsletter distribution — 1,736 weekly newsletter subscribers, a year over year increase of 463.

• Social media outreach — 2,621 followers on Facebook, a year over year increase of 1,348 followers.

• Website — 69,652 visitors to www.austinmn.com website, a year over year increase of 28,744 visitors.

• Tour and travel groups – 166 tour and travel groups were welcomed by Discover Austin, Minnesota in 2017. The groups accounted for 5,195 visitors that spent nearly $30,000 in admission fees at local attractions. Minnesota, Iowa, California, South Dakota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and New York were the top states to send tour groups.

• Overnight travelers – the City Lodging Tax collected last year was $159,580.58, a year over year decrease of $1,577.91.

Schnable also spoke about the “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” contest in which locals can “experience the ABCs of Austin.” Using an alphabetical checklist, residents can visit a retail business or restaurant in Austin that begins with each letter of the alphabet from now through June 15.

Participants who visit at least 20 different businesses may submit their lists, along with receipts dated May 5-June 15 from each location, to Discover Austin, Minnesota, no later than 4:49 p.m. on June 15 to be entered into a random drawing. Grand prize will be $150 Chamber Bucks, while two other winners will receive $100 Chamber Bucks and $50 Chamber Bucks. The Drawing will be live at 8:45 a.m. on June 22 on KAUS AM, Austin Action Report.

Checklists can be picked up at the information station at Town Center, the lobby of the US Bank building and the Discover Austin, Minnesota, office.

They are also available in the May-June 2018 issue of Austin Living Magazine.

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