These Three Developments Will Rewrite Abilene's Tourism Story

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By Nanci Liles
ACVB Executive Director

The Storybook Capital of Texas is starting an exciting new chapter in its tourism story, and the Abilene Convention Bureau is working hard to ensure we all live happily ever after.

Travel and tourism is alive and well in Abilene, Texas.  With several exciting projects in the works, the community is on the verge of exhilarating change when these development dreams become reality.  As the city’s destination marketing organization, the ACVB is poised to create growth in this local industry. Indeed, leadership from the ACVB will be key to effectively leverage our investments in infrastructure.

A destination marketing organization’s program is a critical piece to building a successful economic driver to cities, states and countries around the world. Simply stated, tourism is economic development. Destination marketing is not simply a promotional effort. It is a sophisticated, strategic, well-developed plan of action to generate economic activity.

The Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau is equipped and prepared to strengthen the impact of tourism and to market Abilene’s existing and upcoming tourism assets. This program has nearly five decades of real-world experience gathering data, hosting conventions and events, generating leads, targeting new business, researching customer needs, training hospitality, securing public relations, and communicating with literally thousands of event planners.

The importance of integrated product development and marketing cannot be overstated. Product development without a marketing strategy can be futile.  With years of research, consistent and successful marketing experience, and the strategic investment of existing hotel occupancy tax to promote the hotel and convention industry, our city’s destination marketing organization can, and will, be a vital tool in the future of tourism in Abilene.

Let’s look at the catalysts that will impact our tourism story:

  • The passing of the bond for Taylor County Expo Center improvements opens the door for Abilene to solicit new state and national events.  The ACVB will work hand in hand with Rochelle Johnson and the Taylor County Expo Center leadership to leverage this asset to bring new business.
  • All indicators are positive for a convention hotel, and Dawn Meadows, our Convention Sales manager, is champing at the bit to book additional meetings for the city.  The luxury hotel downtown will include ample meeting space to host larger conventions and provide greater long-term economic impact to the community.  A full-service hotel is the cornerstone for creating a vibrant downtown area to attract and retain new businesses and activities.
  • Completing the tourism development trifecta is the pending youth sports center, a facility to attract new indoor sporting events to the city.  An added benefit to the city with a new youth sports complex is the ability to keep money in Abilene by reducing the leakage of dollars leaving the city every weekend as parents and teams compete in cities around the state.

These three new tourism assets will drive our economy by creating more jobs and revenue for Abilene and local business. Times have never been so exciting. Abilene’s tourism future looks bright.

The ACVB’s most significant role over the next five years will be to ensure both the success of new entities and the continued success of existing ones. This can be accomplished through strategic marketing, support from city, county, and civic leaders and engagement with our visitors. Together, we will write this happy ending.   





Nanci Liles is the Executive Director of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau and has been an integral part to the Texas Tourism Industry for more than 30 years. 


General, Events, Storybook Capital, Taylor County Expo Center, Tourism