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Talking tourism at Burnet chamber event

Stacy Smith, Jennifer Krause, Mike McHenry

Burnet resident Stacy Smith visits with Wedding Oak Winery representative Jennifer Krause and owner Mike McHenry at a Coffee and Conversation event sponsored by the Burnet Chamber of Commerce. Staff photo by Alecia Ormsby

The Burnet Chamber of Commerce and Burnet County Tourism are working for the weekend — weekend visitors, that is, as well as longer vacationers. 

Chamber members and guests found out more at a monthly Coffee and Conversation mixer sponsored by the chamber on Tuesday, April 19, at the Hill Country Community Foundation’s Reed Building, 402 E. Jackson St. in Burnet.

Allison McKee, the chamber’s executive director, and Blair Manning, director of Marketing and Tourism for Burnet County, spoke about what each organization is doing to bring visitors to the area and keep them coming back.

“We want to give people the flavor of Burnet when they visit with enough information for them to ask why they should come back,” said McKee, adding that festivals are a big draw. “When we have festivals, people need things to make their experience better, such as lodging, restaurants, wineries, and other things to do.” 

Burnet’s Bluebonnet Festival, tagged “The Most Exciting Small-Town Festival in Texas,” was held April 8-10. According to the event’s website, it draws about 30,000 people each year.

To enhance the visitor experience, the chamber has increased its web marketing and printed materials and is working with businesses. McKee mentioned the potential for an e-newsletter, a mural for photo-ops, and a QR code to scan to find more vacation possibilities. 

Manning’s position covers more than just the city of Burnet, as her role involves promoting every city in Burnet County, including Bertram, Cottonwood Shores, Granite Shoals, and Marble Falls.

Manning said she is excited to work with each of the chambers, and they all want the same outcome, for they are “all in this together.”

“I’m working to build awareness through the media as well,” she said. “I want to promote how to spend a day in Burnet County, from breakfast through dinner.”

In March, she helped organized a media tour for travel journalists from across the country. The writers stayed at two locations and took hikes, went boating, and visited wineries, among other Burnet County-based activities. Manning said she has already seen several social media posts and articles from the journalists on the experience.

Burnet County Tourism is also hosting the grand opening of the county’s new Visitor Center on Friday, April 22. The center is housed in the old county jail, which as built in 1884, at 109 S. Pierce St. in Burnet. Hours will be 9-11 a.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.