“Life’s Better in a State of Travel.” This is the Texas Travel Industry Association’s (TTIA) brand tagline.

My focus typically hones in on our Denton Original Independent brand, and the facets that make it so successful in the marketplace from the essence it conveys to delivering on the promise it represents. The “Life’s Better” brand is one to be explored as well, because it encompasses our Denton brand along with the rest of the state’s individual destination brands and communicates the message that travel is a vital industry to every Texan.

The Texas Travel Industry Association is a non-profit organization that unites businesses, organizations, associations and individuals throughout Texas who are dedicated to developing Texas tourism to its fullest potential. Its membership consists of airlines, hoteliers, convention and visitors bureaus (CVB), chambers of commerce, attractions, retailers, restaurants, travel publications, tour operators and individuals.

The Denton delegation at the 2017 Unity Dinner: CVB Communications Director Veronica Maldonado, Owners of the Best Western Premier Crown Chase Zach and Monica Glenn, Chamber Board chair Glenn Carlton, CVB Vice President Kim Phillips, Rep. Lynn Stucky and wife Lori, CVB Advisory Board chair Bob Moses and wife Joann and CVB Sales Director Dana Lodge.

A “state of travel” at first glance conjured for me a state of mind. A state of travel as a mindset is one of passion for exploration, adventure and relaxation. It is a way of thinking that embraces departure from one’s norm as necessary medicine for achieving a better life. It is my opinion that everyone has a travel state of mind, at least now and again. Don’t we all love vacation?

Digging deeper into the brand, however, we also find an important economic message in the “Life’s Better” tagline. Texas is a state of travel, and life’s better in our state because of the impact travel makes on our economy. Did you know, for example, that travel and tourism is the third largest industry in Texas? It is also one of our largest exports, second only to oil and gas.

Let me put this into a dollars and cents portrait. According to the Texas Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism, total direct travel spending in Texas in 2015 was $68.7 billion.  Travelers generated $6.2 billion in local and state tax revenues, supporting more than 1.1 million Texas jobs in leisure, hospitality, transportation, retail trade, real estate, construction, insurance, finance, government, and other industries, totaling $27.8 billion in earnings.

Now that we understand the economic numbers, we can totally grasp the “Life’s Better” tagline’s essence. To make it personal, TTIA states that every Texas household would pay an additional $1,020 in taxes every year without travel’s cash flow.

On February 15, a Denton delegation traveled to Austin for TTIA’s Unity Dinner, an annual gathering held in Austin that highlights the tourism industry’s economic impact on the great state of Texas. Nearly 900 tourism delegates and legislators from across the state convened at the Austin Convention Center to the theme that “Travel Matters.” The Denton delegation included: chair of the Denton CVB Advisory Board Bob Moses; chair of the Denton Chamber board Glenn Carlton; State Representative Lynn Stucky and his wife Lori; owners of Denton’s Best Western Premier hotel Zach and Monica Glenn (Zach is on the board of the Texas Hotel Lodging Association (THLA) and Monica is a Chamber board member and chair of the Chamber’s legislative affairs committee); and other Denton civic leaders and Denton CVB staff members.

Members of the Denton delegation also participated in the THLA Converge on the Capital on February 16 when we visited the offices of Representative Stucky and Senator Craig Estes to talk about issues specific to the Texas travel industry and Denton’s vital tourism commerce. We are fortunate to have state legislators who appreciate and support the importance of tourism to Denton’s economic vitality.

Life’s better in Denton because of travel. In fact, according to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism, the travel industry in Denton is responsible for 1,610 jobs and a $5.4 million impact on local Denton tax receipts. In 2015, visitor spending within Denton was $172 million. Without the tourism industry in Denton, every Denton household would pay an additional $356.14 in local taxes.

TTIA just released a new study conducted by the Perryman Group of the travel industry’s impact on property tax. Travel and tourism activity contributed $1.2 billion in local property tax revenue during 2016, an estimated $675.8 million of which impacts Texas independent school districts for operations, maintenance and debt service.

Let’s bring it home again. According to the Perryman study, the travel industry’s impact on property tax revenue in Denton County during 2016 was $4.6 million.

Travel matters to our economy and our wallets.

To sum it all up, life is better in a state of travel. Thanks to travel and our unique original independent brand, life is better in Denton too.