Canadians get more bang for their buck in affordable Texas
Austin, Texas

Canadians get more bang for their buck in affordable Texas

TORONTO — Most Canadians don’t think about Texas for a weekend getaway but with all the direct flights, big Texas draws like San Antonio, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are just a three hour flight from several major Canadian gateways.

From Toronto Air Canada offers direct flights to Houston, DFW, Austin and San Antonio. From Montreal and Vancouver, it offers Houston and DFW plus Houston from Calgary and Edmonton. The Calgary-Houston route is also served by WestJet.

Air Canada’s year-round service to San Antonio started in May 2017. Debra Bustos, who handles the Canadian market as part of her duties overseeing Economic Development & Tourism for the Office of the Governor, says the route is doing very well and that her department is working closely with Air Canada to keep those flights going.

Canadians get more bang for their buck in affordable Texas

San Antonio, Texas

The sticking point with any Texas destination – or any U.S. destination, for that matter – is the buying power of the Canadian dollar. The loonie is worth 76 cents to the U.S. greenback these days. “It’s a challenge for sure,” says Bustos. “But travellers should know they’re going to get more bang for their buck in Texas. We’re a more economical destination than places like New York City or Miami. Your dollar’s going to go farther in Texas.”

The number of Canadians travelling to Texas hit the 500,000 mark for the first time ever in 2017, with 503,000 visitors last year. Bustos says 2018 is looking equally strong. “To finally cross over that half million market from the Canadian market, I was extremely happy to see that accomplished,” said Bustos.

Travel Texas and its partners hosted an industry reception in Toronto recently, providing updates for San Antonio, DFW, Fredericksburg and Corpus Christi, among others.

Corpus Christi is a two-hour drive from San Antonio and just over three hours from Houston. Teresa Rodriguez, Chief Public Affairs & Business Development Officer for the Corpus Christi CVB, suggests clients fly into San Antonio or Houston for an urban getaway, head over to Fredericksburg in Texas Hill Country for a B&B retreat, then drive down to Corpus Christi for some beach time.

“For many years we’ve been reaching out to Canadians,” says Rodriguez. “We’re waiting for them with open arms! And we’re very inexpensive.” Corpus Christi is ‘America’s Birdiest City’ – it’s right on the flight path for hundreds of species of migrating birds – and also home to the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay. See www.visitcorpuschristitx.org.

Fredericksburg meanwhile is right in the heart of Texas Hill Country, just over an hour from Austin and San Antonio, and home to dozens of wineries. Not too long ago Fredericksburg was known primarily for its homey B&Bs and folksy shops. The spirit of the destination remains – Fredericksburg is still ‘Texas Heart. German Soul’, according to its tagline – but the accommodation and retail have gone more upscale.

Canadians get more bang for their buck in affordable Texas

Karyn Mayo with the Fredericksburg, Texas CVB

There was “a purposeful decision” to go high-end, says Fredericksburg CVB’s Director of Tourism & Strategic Alliances, Karyn Mayo, and it was the right move with visitor figures growing in leaps and bounds.

Anyone heading to Fredericksburg can still book B&B accommodation but the offering is more up-market with more villas and casitas available. “They’re very luxurious but because we’re still a small town, we’re still affordable,” says Mayo.

Fredericksburg is also for foodies, with cooking classes, high-end dining venues and winery tours. See visitfredericksburgTX.com.