TORONTO — One thing you can say about Texas is that despite having a diverse range of big-city attractions and small-town charms, everything has that unmistakable Texan flair.
This common thread, rooted in cowboy culture and a zest for life, is what ties many of the state’s major destinations. Now, with the rollout of Travel Texas’ new branding, which includes a new contemporary logo, an ad campaign, an updated website and the slogan ‘Let’s Texas’, these destinations are being celebrated both for their individual appeal and their mutual affinity for all things Texan.
In an exclusive interview with Travelweek, Travel Texas (represented in Canada by Vox International) says it’s reaffirming its commitment to the Canadian market with advertising dollars that will go towards promoting the destination across the trade and to consumers. Noting that travel agents are “very important to us”, Rosalyn Hunter, Director of Communications for Travel Texas, is telling agents to expect webinars and other trade incentives that will help educate them about the state’s diversity.
“We go beyond just cowboy,” she says. “Even though we want people to come for cowboy culture because we do it authentically, we want them to know that there’s so much more to Texas.”
It’s a message that’s resonating well with Canadians; in 2018, the state welcomed 497,000 Canadians who spent an average 15.9 nights and spent a total of US$339 million. And though visitation was slightly down from the previous year, Canada remains Texas’ #2 international market (after Mexico) with 17 direct flights to five Canadian cities.
DFW International Airport serves as an ideal gateway for travellers as it’s surrounded by no less than a dozen cities worth visiting, including Grapevine, Irving and Arlington, which one year ago opened Texas Live, a sprawling entertainment district that’s home to a variety of restaurants and bars, the 300-room Live! By Loews hotel, and the soon-to-be-built, US$1.1 billion Globe Life Field ballpark.
Closer to San Antonio is Fredericksburg, which Hunter refers to as “the little gem of Texas”. Home to the largest working wildflower farm in the United States, Fredericksburg is best known for its German heritage (it hosts a killer Oktoberfest every year during the first week of October), its wine (there are over 60 wineries and vineyards within its city limits), and its 16 orchards (renowned for their peaches, the city is gaining a reputation for being a foodie destination). Also notable is Fredericksburg’s craft breweries (it’s home to the Altstadt Brewery, which adheres to German chemist laws that date back to 1516) and its 10-block historic shopping district featuring over 150 boutique shops, none of which are chain stores. And though the city is home to over 1,300 hotel rooms, commissionable B&Bs are making a big push, with villas featuring independent casitas proving to be a popular option among groups and families.
For those with a budget, League City, which is ideally situated 22 miles each way between Houston and Galveston, offers more affordable accommodations than its big-city counterparts, some by as much as 50%. In addition to a new 130-room Aloft hotel coming in 2021, there’s the 30-year-old, 240-guestroom South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Centre, which overlooks Clear Lake and offers a renovated 185-foot pool, a lighthouse bar and bistro, the Crystal Ballroom, 25,000 square feet of meeting space and close proximity to two championship golf courses.
Considered a suburb of Houston, League City is home to (or situated within minutes to) several attractions that are giving travellers good reason to stay and play. The Kemah Boardwalk, located just 20 miles from Houston, is the perfect family-friendly spot, with a double-decker carousel, a century ferris wheel, a stingray museum, a wooden rollercoaster and a full calendar of festivals and concerts. There’s also Space Center Houston, the area’s #1 attraction and the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center and a Smithsonian Affiliate. Here, guests can view over 400 space artifacts, browse through permanent and travelling exhibits, and marvel over the world’s largest collection of moon rocks.
As for cruisers, the Port of Galveston serves as the home port for several cruise ships, including the Disney Wonder, the only seasonal ship on the island, sailing from November through to early 2020. Carnival Cruise Line also recently announced that it will be adding a fourth ship to homeport in Galveston year-round beginning in 2021, while Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas offers year-round itineraries and was joined by the Enchantment of the Seas in 2019. Houston, Galveston and League City are all ideal destinations for pre- and post-cruise exploring.
To order Travel Texas’ new international guide, contact Lorenzo Campos, Account Director, Vox International, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on travel to Texas, go to traveltexas.com.