July 6, 2012- A new law in New Braunfels, Texas is causing confusion and frustration for the city. Hundreds of thousands of tourists enjoy tubing on the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. Tubing is one of the most popular ways to beat the heat, but turnout this summer is down and businesses have said the reason is obvious.
A new ordinance that bans disposable containers has heightened the friction between those businesses that depend on tourism for their livelihood and local residents weary of partygoers who do not throw away the truckloads of garbage left behind.
The ordinance, dubbed the can ban does not prohibit drinking alcohol. However, many tourists who have stayed away thinking they can no longer enjoy a beer on a tube have not understood that message correctly. Tourists’ who have come to the area for years are calling to say why come if you cannot enjoy a beer while tubing.
Alcohol is legal while tubing if it is put into a reusable container first. However, while figures are not known yet, officials from the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau have said that business is down from previous years.
Local businesses are receiving the help of the city through a marketing campaign attempting to clear up the actual ordinance rules. Over 58% of the voters approved the can ban, even though local businesses warned it would hurt their economy that is so dependent upon tourists’ dollars.
Tourism generates over $469 million annually for the New Braunfels economy.