Shenandoah lays out plans to boost tourism appeal in 2021

The city of Shenandoah Convention and Visitors Bureau has laid out plans to begin revamping tourism efforts as coronavirus restrictions have loosened throughout the first half of 2021.

A destination analysis plan was conducted and presented by firm Clarity of Place during a June 9 City Council meeting. The plan highlighted the fact that around 95% of the city’s local tax receipts come from visitor-travelers.

SCVB Director John Mayner said the city’s tourism plan moving forward is to be helpful and sustainable in light of the high amount of traffic from outside sources.

“Sometimes in our space of tourism, people juxtapose things for residents and things for tourism,” Mayner said. “We made a point in reviewing the different destination types to make the key point that every day, people come to this city.”

Leveraging assets


Mayner said the SCVB’s focus in the future will be on leveraging its current assets as well as pursuing regional partnerships with companies such as marketing firm Around Houston.

“We are trying to build upon those market drivers smartly,” Mayner said. “We are already advancing. We are trying to look at new ways to work smartly.”

Along with the city’s retail offerings, the SCVB plans to focus its efforts to leveraging digital environments by updating websites and encouraging online shopping as the past year has highlighted shoppers are ordering online more often.

Shenandoah Finance Director Lisa Wasner said despite fewer people traveling and staying in the city’s hotels, the effect of COVID-19 was less than anticipated with the total sales tax for fiscal year 2019-20 down $357,618.The city is already seeing an increase in the amount of sales tax revenue it is receiving due to increased spending in the area, she said. According to Wasner, the city was up $593,556 from October through April compared to FY 2019-20.

Wasner added the city has also seen an increase of $268,360 in sales tax revenue this year compared to FY 2018-19, which ended prior to the coronavirus pandemic, showing that overall growth is up.

“The main concern from fewer people traveling is for the lost business our hotels and motels might experience,” Wasner said.

Wasner added the city is fortunate to be located on a major highway in between two larger jurisdictions with The Woodlands and Conroe.

“This brings a lot of outside traffic to our retail and restaurant locations as well as having many businesses that have limited locations operate in our area,” Wasner said.

Current offerings

Mayner said among the features bringing people to Shenandoah are the medical campuses located in and around the city on either side of I-45 as well as two youth and collegiate sports arenas that attract weekend visitors such as Woodforest Bank Stadium on David Memorial Drive.

The city also has a growing number of hotels with new openings bringing the total to a dozen.

“This year, we have opened three new hotel properties,” Mayner said. “We have a significant number of hotel rooms and supplies that we have to contemplate on what we are doing.”The new hotels include the Hyatt House at Metropark Square, the Aloft Hotel at 19391 David Memorial Drive and the EVEN Hotel at 18850 David Memorial Drive.

Mayner said area stakeholders have expressed during meetings they appreciate the city’s offerings.

“It is a strong and extraordinary number when you are looking at those sales tax numbers,” Mayner said. “When those numbers are being generated from non-residents ... as the [SCVB], it is part of our mission. We are just over 2.2 square miles geographically speaking. ... There is a lot here.”
By Andrew Christman
Andrew joined Community Impact Newspaper in early 2019 after moving from Indiana. He is a 2015 graduate from Indiana State University, where he received degrees in English and journalism. He has written for a number of small town publications throughout his career as a reporter.


MOST RECENT

As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'The vaccines we have are effective against all the variants out there': Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass discusses variants, vaccinations

As Houston Methodist identified its first case of the lambda variant July 19, Dr. Glass believes vaccines can handle known variants.

Pressed Juicery sells smoothies and juices, smoothie bowls, wellness shots and juice cleanses. (Courtesy Pressed Juicery)
Pressed Juicery plans Market Street location in The Woodlands

Pressed Juicery sells smoothies and juices, smoothie bowls, wellness shots and juice cleanses. 

A new location serving coffee and tea will open on FM 1488. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Golden Hour Coffee and Tea planning to open in August near XScape Theatre

Golden Hour Coffee and Tea is anticipated to open by the end of August.

The Woodlands Township board of directors met July 22. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chamber, residents urge delay on possible incorporation vote date in The Woodlands

A resolution from The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce urged the township board of directors to delay a possible vote on incorporation beyond this year.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is pleading with residents to be more vigilant, asking all residents to start wearing masks again in indoor settings and asking those who are vaccinated to urge their friends who are not to get the shot. (Screenshot Courtesy Facebook)
Harris County raises coronavirus threat level as Hidalgo asks all residents to mask up indoors

Although those who are vaccinated are very unlikely to end up in the hospital, officials said wearing masks in certain situations could help reduce transmissions to the more susceptible unvaccinated.

A COVID-19 vaccine dose is administered to a person's arm
Montgomery County sees July increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

Active COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County climbed above 1,000 for the first time in two months, just after June recorded the lowest active cases since 2020.

Harris County Emergency Services District 11 commissioners received updates on the status of its upcoming ambulances services at a July 22 board meeting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 commissioners discuss upcoming ambulance service

The district will take over providing emergency medical services across more than 177 square miles of north Harris County, currently being provided by Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, on Sept. 1.

Memorial Hermann has locations throughout the Greater Houston area, including Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. (Courtesy Memorial Hermann)
Memorial Hermann visiting policies change as COVID-19 cases rise

As of July 21, Memorial Hermann has changed its visitor policy in light of a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Greater Houston area.

Houston unemployment is above state and national levels, while home sales in the region continue to be strong, according to a July 21 economic update from the Greater Houston Partnership. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Unemployment, strong housing sales mark 2021 Houston economy, Greater Houston Partnership says

While Houston job recovery lags due to the pandemic, area home sales are strong, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

Conroe ISD provided recommendations for a safer return for the 2021-22 school year. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe ISD sets COVID-19 policies for 2021-22 school year

The "Roadmap to Remaining Open" states policies and provides recommendations for students and faculty to better prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to the district.