Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 02/22/2018  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon a briefing from Visit The Woodlands Chairman Rieser regarding the Waterway Cruiser operation (as requested by Director Rieser);
FISCAL IMPACT:
N/A
BACKGROUND:
After nearly two years of contracting with Waterway Events, LLC (Waterway Events) for the operation of the Waterway Cruisers on The Woodlands Waterway, due in part to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and Waterway Events have mutually agreed to suspend operations and end the relationship.

The CVB will be taking a fresh look at the operations in the coming months. Waterway Events has operated and maintained all six of the 35-foot commercial passenger boats known as the Waterway Cruisers since approximately April 1, 2016, when they entered into contracts with The Woodlands CVB and others to privately operate the Waterway Cruisers.
 
While exploring both short term and long-term options, The Woodlands CVB, a nonprofit entity, will be working with the Brazos Transit District, who has been involved in the operation and maintenance of the Waterway Cruisers since their inception in 2004 and owns the existing maintenance facility on Lake Robbins, to make a full assessment of the operations and equipment.

The Waterway Cruisers operations first began as a private operation by Water Taxi, Inc. out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2004. For several years, The Woodlands Development Company owned and operated the boats until the company gifted them, free of charge, to The Woodlands CVB, the organization responsible to position The Woodlands as a regionally, nationally and internationally recognized destination for leisure, convention and business travel. No property tax funding from The Woodlands residents was ever used in the operation; the CVB being funded by hotel occupancy taxes from visitors to The Woodlands.  The original useful life of the vessels was estimated at 15 years and the Waterway Cruisers have logged over 434,000 trips along The Woodlands Waterway serving an estimated total number of passengers more than 500,000 in 14 years of service.

The Woodlands CVB, which promotes The Woodlands with the moniker “Visit The Woodlands,” plans to reevaluate the operation to determine the next best steps.
RECOMMENDATION:
Receive and file the report.

    

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