CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Visit Corpus Christi, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, needs help in shaping the next decade of tourism in the city.
They’re hosting a pair of town hall meetings next week to get the community’s input. The first meeting is from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday at Brewster Street Icehouse Downtown. The second will be held virtually, from 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The town halls are the next step in Visit Corpus Christi’s 10-year plan to make the city a more attractive tourist destination.
“The public is impacted by tourism,” said Visit Corpus Christi CEO Brett Oetting. “Whether they know it or not, tourism has a big impact on them and I want to hear from them.”
According to Oetting, roughly 10 million people visit the city a year. In turn, those visitors pay about 26 percent of all sales tax collected in the city.
“That helps pay for street infrastructure,” Oetting said. “It helps pay for fire and police, it helps pay for general services for those who live here.”
Tim and Carol Siegel don’t live here. They’re visiting from Houston, choosing Corpus Christi over Galveston for their vacation.
“Especially now with COVID-19, a place where we can go easily, and this is only about a four-hour drive,” said Carol Siegel.
“The biggest thing I look for is parking,” said Tim Siegel, who commented on how easily he found a spot on North Beach. “In Galveston, it’s really difficult to find good parking spots.”
One complaint the Siegels had is how far apart some attractions are. That’s exactly the kind of feedback Oetting is looking for. That feedback will help form a strategy.
“This city, ultimately from a tourism perspective, needs a master plan,” Oetting said. “That’s what we’re trying to put in place with this ten year destination management strategy.”
Even though he's only been in Corpus Christi for five months, Oetting knows one thing the city needs is a convention-center hotel. Not having a hotel attached to the American Bank Center has cost the city several conventions over the years.
“It does take us off that list, often to even start, but when we do on the list, it might very well take us off the list when we get down to the final two or three," he said.
Oetting said he’s recently had conversations about a convention-center hotel. Whether or not the city can find someone willing to build one remains to be seen.
Visit Corpus Christi enlisted the help of consulting firm Next Factor to poll visitors about its "wish-list" to enhance tourism. Next Factor will present its finding to the Visit Corpus Christi board and other local leaders Sept. 24.