Ignite

November/December 2015

A fresh resource for people who plan and manage meetings, events, business travel, promotions and incentive programs. Providing you with inspiration, guidance and great ideas.

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Texas This scenic state capital set on Lady Bird Lake greets visitors with a blend of old-school Texas hospitality, social media smarts, hippie vibe and an unlimited playlist of good tunes—asserting its claim to be the "Live Music Capital of the World." While many US cities stalled in the 2008 down- turn, Austin kept steaming right along, enticing entrepreneurs and new residents with an enviable quality of life, inventive tech culture and one of the best research universities in the country, UT Austin. Rather than see their growing metropolis morph into a big-box destination, Austinites new and old fiercely vow to Keep Austin Weird—the unofficial slo- gan of its independent businesses and creative class. Art pop-ups, street performers, food-trailer parks, local brews and pursuit of the perfect barbecue are all part of the Austin experience. Buzzing neighbour- hoods to explore include Sixth Street's famed music club scene, trendy Rainey Street, South Congress Avenue and eclectic East Austin. The city's meetings infrastructure has flourished with investment, including the 1,000-plus-room JW Marriott convention hotel opened this year. The events industry has a depth of experience earned hosting massive city-wides such as SXSW Interactive—the tech and media conference spawned by the music festival—which draws more than 30,000 attendees each year. More recently, Formula One racing has come to town, attracting 300,000 fans and creating an annual incentive travel event for aficionados of fast cars, foodie culture and celebrity style. Where in the world Austin by Julie Chalres Fair Market Photo: Nick Simonite Watch an overview of Austin's infrastructure for meetings on our digital version at ignitemag.com 74 | Ignitemag.ca | November | December 2015

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