South Texas Tourism is a non-profit marketing cooperative that works together at promoting the valley as the ideal destination for retirement. It is composed of the following members; The Alamo Chamber of Commerce, The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, The Hidalgo Chamber of Commerce, The McAllen Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce, The Valley Partnership, and the Weslaco Chamber of Commerce.  New members and sponsors are always welcome. I am honored to serve as their director and ecstatic to work in the amazing industry of tourism.

The Rio Grande Valley is growing at a tremendous pace.Sexier opportunities seduce our government leaders every day. Space X, the RGV University, a medical school the I-69, but do you know how these impact tourism? How many students from out of the area will come, and how many of their family members will visit? How many people will come to see rockets launched? How many will visit our medical facilities?  And how many more already visit the Valley for leisure trade and business?

Local leaders relish at the opportunity to state the exact number of jobs a certain project will generate, but do they know how many hospitality related jobs flourish as a result of these endeveours?  These could actually be more than those easily calculated.  The question is:  Does tourism matter to the Valley? If so, are we ready for visitors?

Over 67 billion dollars were spent by travelers in Texas last year generating over one million jobs.  The travel industry employment has increased 4.1 % per year since 2010.

Travel spending generated $8.5 billion dollars in local, state and federal tax receipts. This is equivalent to $900 in tax revenue for each Texas household.

The total amount of direct travel spending in the counties of Cameron and Hidalgo totaled 2 billion 137 thousand dollars last year. Jobs created by visitors to these two counties amount to 23, 217. The numbers are impressive and all data is available through the Office of the Governor on Economic Development and Tourism.

TOURISM MEANS MONEY:  “There is nothing about economic development that doesn’t begin with a visit.” Chris Thompson, President & CEO, Brand USA.

Because tourism matters, and our winter Texans are visitors, is the reason I will post a series of stories on this topic. Your ideas and suggestions are always welcome.

We had posted an article about this same issue a few months back that might be important to reconsider. Read here.

Feature photo courtesy of South Padre Island CVB