Why sell Houston? Food, family and direct flights with Air Canada
Jennifer Backus (left), Senior Key Account Manager at Air Canada, and Pilar Florez, Director of Tourism at Visit Houston

Why sell Houston? Food, family and direct flights with Air Canada

TORONTO — Let’s taco ‘bout Houston, shall we? The city hosted an industry event in Toronto yesterday during which tourism partners and media were invited to build their own breakfast tacos, a local staple that reflects Houston’s growing Hispanic population.

According to Pilar Florez, Director of Tourism for Visit Houston, 38% of the city’s population has Hispanic roots, which speaks to its incredible diversity. In fact, the Kinder Institute For Urban Research has officially designated Houston as the most diverse city in the United States, a title it certainly wears with pride.

It’s in this way that Houston shares similarities with Toronto, also known for its diversity, which Florez hopes will inspire Torontonians to visit their American counterpart this year. And with Air Canada providing a bevvy of flights, Canadians are in a prime position to book more leisure vacations, something Florez says the city hopes to increase.

“We’ve always had an historic connection with Canada thanks to the oil and gas industries, with much of our traffic coming from Calgary,” she told Travelweek. “But with Air Canada’s flights, we’re now focusing on Eastern Canada and, specifically, leisure travellers.”

Air Canada offers nonstop service from three Canadian cities to Houston: Montreal, Calgary and Toronto. In total, the airline flies over 100 flights each week from Canada to Houston, making it the carrier with the most flights and the most seats between Canada and the state of Texas.

“We’re now focused on growing our U.S. network as part of our efforts to expand on a global scale,” said Jennifer Backus, Senior Key Account Manager at Air Canada. “It’s key for us to service both directions, to not only bring Canadians to Houston but also bring more people from Houston to Canadian hubs.”

With convenient airlift, Florez also hopes that travellers who’ve traditionally used Houston as a transit hub will now stop, stay and explore the city. Approximately 18 million people travel through Houston’s two international airports and onward to other global destinations.

“We have to ask ourselves, how can we work together to get people to stay,” she said, noting that Houston’s incredible value and family-friendly attractions are huge selling points for Canadians.

“Over the past year or so, we have noticed a bit of a dip in visitation, largely due to the poor exchange rate,” she said. “But Canadians should know that we are one of the most affordable cities in the U.S., with many free attractions. A meal that would cost US$25 in New York would cost $9.99 in Houston.”

Here’s a list of other selling points that you can share with clients:

  • Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S.
  • The city welcomes over 20 million visitors annually, of that 125,000 are Canadian
  • It’s easily combinable with Texas’ other major cities like San Antonio and Austin, with a suggested 10-day flight/drive route proving popular among leisure visitors
  • Air Canada’s direct flights make Houston an ideal weekend getaway
  • It’s home to the 2nd largest theatre district in the U.S.
  • The hit musical ‘Hamilton’ will be arriving this year
  • It’s widely considered the culinary capital of southern United States, with over 10,000 restaurants
  • The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held each year in March, is the world’s largest rodeo
  • Houston CityPASS ticket booklets contain discounted, prepaid admission to major attractions, including Space Centre Houston and Downtown Aquarium
  • All major attractions in the downtown core are interconnected by a 12-mile underground tunnel system
  • Houston has 12 craft breweries and over 350 golf courses
  • On Fridays at Space Center Houston, visitors can have lunch with an astronaut
  • Houston is a tax-free shopping destination

Get travel news right to your inbox!