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Phillip Jones, President & CEO, Visit Dallas, spoke during a July 17 Texas Welcomes All and Keep Texas Open for Business press conference on the steps of the state capitol in Austin. Hospitality sector and civic leaders rallied against Texas’ proposed bathroom privacy legislation prior to the start of a 30-day special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo by: Texas Welcomes All.

Stepping Up:Texas Hospitality Leaders Rally Against Bathroom Bill at State Capitol

By Todd McElwee

Texas is famous for its two-step but for hospitality leaders there’s no dancing around the fact bathroom legislation is an undeniable threat to the Lone State State’s economic and cultural wellbeing.
On July 17, Texas Welcomes All and Keep Texas Open for Business spoke out against the matter during a press conference on the steps of the state capitol in Austin. Staged a day before Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) 30-day special legislative session began the rally featured Phillip Jones, President & CEO, Visit Dallas and scores of other Texas hospitality, civic and business leaders as well as supporters from across the nation including John H. Graham, IV, CAE, President & CEO, ASAE.



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PCMA Taps Pittsburgh and San Francisco as
Convening Leaders’ Home in 2019, 2020

By Todd McElwee

Pittsburgh and San Francisco have been awarded PCMA’s Convening Leaders in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Held each January, the conference is PCMA’s largest production and attracts approximately 4,000. Nashville is hosting in 2018.
Deborah Sexton, President & CEO, PCMA, told USAE she could not be more pleased with the selections of Pittsburgh and San Francisco adding her association is already exploring options for 2021 and 2022. In early June, PCMA had to scratch Houston from its list of potential 2019 host cities due to the Texas bathroom bill. A PCMA board member told USAE Houston was the association’s first choice.

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Oklahoma City Approves Agreement with Omni for a 600-room Convention Hotel

By Grant Broadhurst

In addition to a new convention center, Oklahoma City will be opening a new 600-room Omni hotel in 2020.
The Oklahoma City Council voted on July 18 to approve an agreement with Omni Hotels for the headquarters hotel, which will provide the upcoming MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center with a 500-room block. The city will contribute $84.2 million of the development cost, and Omni will contribute the remaining $150.1 million.

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Solar Eclipse: U.S. Cities Will Make Hay When
Sun Doesn’t Shine

By Grant Broadhurst

On August 21, a solar eclipse will blot out the sun in a 70-mile wide west-to-east swath of the United States. And while 12.2 million people live in the eclipse’s path, thousands more are expected to put themselves in viewing range; a boon for tourism coast-to-coast.
As the moon orbits and the earth turns, people under a diagonal arc from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina will be able to experience up to 2 minutes and 41.6 seconds of totality – when the land is cast into the darkness of the moon’s shadow.
CVBs in affected areas have been preparing for the influx of visitors coming to see the eclipse and, in the process, cities or towns they might not otherwise have visited.


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HOTS

The Plastic Planet… Since the 1950s, more than 9 billion tons of plastic have been produced, according to a new study published July 19 by a team of researchers from the Sea Education Association, the University of Georgia and the University of California, Santa Barbara. That’s more than a ton of plastic per person on the planet, and HOTS may have contributed at least a ton of this in water bottles alone.
Only 30 percent of the plastic is still in use, according to the study, and 79 percent of the discarded plastic has ended up in landfills or the environment. HOTS thinks we could solve this problem by using classy gold instead of cheap plastic. Like plastic, gold doesn’t rust, but unlike plastic, no one’s going to throw it out. As a bonus, we’ll all get the bodies of athletes from lifting heavy phones, computers and bottles all day.
HOTS has thought long and hard about this and can’t think of a single drawback.


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