It's National Travel and Tourism Week! This week of events, May 1st-9th, serves to champion the power of our industry. Travel and tourism professionals work throughout the week to promote the contributions their travel organizations make to the U.S. and local economies. This year, the U.S. Travel Association has determined this week's theme is Travel ’16. We interviewed some our Austin CVB staff about working in tourism and to share some of their Austin recommendations.

Tiffany Kerr comicTiffany Kerr, Director of Marketing
What’s your favorite thing about working in the travel & tourism industry?
When it comes to working in the travel industry, I have two “favorite things:” 1. I get to market Austin, which is one of my passion brands.  2. In my role as a marketer, I love selling experiences instead of things. Working in travel and tourism means we get to be a part of traveler’s stories.

Describe your perfect day off in Austin.
Breakfast and good coffee on a patio. A Zilker Park picnic with friends. Cooking dinner at home. An East Austin whiskey nightcap at Whisler's or The Wheel.    

What is your favorite way to experience the outdoors in Austin?
On a hike with my dog.

Lourdes Gomez comicLourdes Gomez, Tourism & PR Manager
What’s your favorite thing about working in the travel & tourism industry?
My favorite part of working in the industry is having the opportunity to work with an international community of travel professionals. I find this to be the most stimulating part of my job on an intellectual and professional level.

Describe your perfect day off in Austin.
My perfect day off starts with an invigorating run on the Hike and Bike trail followed by a delicious breakfast and cup of coffee enjoyed to hill country views. My afternoon would be spent soaking up the rays and cooling off in Barton Springs Pool and afterwards lunch at The Picnic. The day would be brought to an end with a gorgeous sunset over Lake Travis.   

What is your favorite way to experience the outdoors in Austin?
Doing yoga while overlooking a hill country canyon or kayaking the Colorado River.

Shilpa BakreShilpa Bakre, Senior Communications Manager 
What’s your favorite thing about working in the travel & tourism industry?
My favorite thing about working in travel and tourism is the sense of community that our industry creates regardless of geographic location.

Describe your perfect day off in Austin.
Breakfast tacos and coffee at Alta's Café, a run around Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail, followed by a dip in Barton Springs Pool, early happy hour cocktails at VOX Table, and dinner and a movie at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.

What is your favorite way to experience the outdoors in Austin?
A long run around the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail.

Omar comicOmar Lozano, Music Industry Marketing Manager
How do you rally around travel? What’s your favorite thing about working in the travel & tourism industry?
I rally well around spontaneity, what my favorite thing about Austin is that with the drop of a cowboy hat, and minimal prep you can take some amazing day trips, whether your into hiking, swimming and or just want to experience the city’s nightlife and music.

Describe your perfect day off in Austin.
Start the morning right with some breakfast tacos and bloody marys at Mi Madre's Restaurant, bike around Lady Bird Lake trail. Head to Barton Springs to cool off for a couple hours and then have beers at Shoal Creek Saloon with friends. Catch a concert at the Mohawk in the Red River District and then enjoy a late night dinner at Magnolia Cafe.

What is your favorite way to experience the outdoors in Austin?
Austin is a very bike friendly city, you can get almost anywhere in downtown Austin within 30 minutes on a bike. My favorite is rolling around the town or riding down some calm beginner trails, it’s the best way to experience the city at steady pace.

Samantha Brooks ComicSamantha Brooks, Marketing Coordinator
How do you rally around travel?
I am an advocate for travel and understand the value of learning about different cultures and destinations. Therefore, I try to reflect those thoughts into my work and personal life by encouraging others to travel and experience the world. I also encourage everyone to come to Austin and try queso!

What’s your favorite thing about working in the travel & tourism industry? 
I get the opportunity to meet people from all over the world! I also love educating others about a destination and tailoring their experience to meet their interests. I recently helped create an itinerary for a group of horticulturalists coming into Austin... who knew.

Describe your perfect day off in Austin.
I would start with brunch with the girls, mimosas and of course, queso. Then an afternoon near water somewhere while barbecuing with my family and friends. If it’s a gloomy day, a movie at Alamo Drafthouse is another favorite way to end an evening.

Christine Felton comicChristine Felton, Marketing Coordinator
How do you rally around travel? What’s your favorite thing about working in the travel & tourism industry?
There are so many great things about working in the tourism industry and I couldn’t image a better city to work in and for. I love how connected everyone in the travel & tourism industry seems to be – sharing ideas, keeping each other in the loop and even taking time to travel to and experience other regions. These days, everyone wants to experience destinations like a local and I think that is so much fun for our industry. In Austin, we are putting more of a focus on the local experience, the authentic experience. And so far, the response has been really positive. Our True Austin program is a really good example; we are connecting our local experts (and social media gurus) with visitors to promote interaction and make travel more personal.

Describe your perfect day off in Austin.
My perfect day off in Austin includes hot yoga at Black Swan Yoga, then I would stop by Radio Coffee & Beer for a macchiato and a taco from the Veracruz truck on the patio (fingers crossed, no wait). Then, I’d spend the afternoon exploring one of our many amazing natural spaces – maybe McKinney Falls or Bull Creek Trail. A late lunch at Hillside Farmacy (to get my Instagram fix) should leave plenty of time to browse a record or thrift shop on North Loop before meeting friends for drinks on Rainey; Banger’s or Craft Pride for the Texas brew fans in the group. Of course, no perfect night in Austin would be complete without music. But instead of purchasing pricey tickets for a sold-out venue, I’d love to happen across those local gems, the working artists who spend their nights camped out on patios, working the old clubs and playing to keep the heart of Austin pumping.

What is your favorite way to experience the outdoors in Austin?
Austin is home to so many amazing outdoor spaces; I’ve been here for five years and have still only scratched the surface! Experiencing the outdoors can be as simple as packing a picnic and spending the afternoon at Zilker Park, as refreshing as a spring swim in Barton Creek (the actual creek, not the pool) after hiking the Greenbelt Trail, as impressive as kayaking out to the middle of Lady Bird Lake at dusk to watch 1.5 million bats fly out from under the Congress Bridge or as inspiring as a drive West, into the Hill Country, on a spring morning with your windows down and the smell of Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes hanging in the air.