Published on : Thursday, November 17, 2016
Tommy Woods , the Marketing Director for Europe for Texas state speaks with Travel And Tour World at WTM 2016.
Travel And Tour World: What can you tell us about Texas for the next 12 months as a tourist destination? What kind of exciting things can people look forward to?
Tommy Woods: There are so many exciting things to do in Texas right now. We are a very big state, we have five major cities and from the UK we have three gateways into Texas. We have three direct flights from Heathrow into Houston, Dallas. There is a new airline, Singapore Airlines, directly from Manchester to Houston. We have very diverse cities. We are so much more than just cowboys. We have cowboys, culture and great culinary scene. There is music everywhere. There are some places where they say it is great for party music, but it is Texas where you go to perform in. We have 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, where the cattle are driven from the south of Texas and loaded on to the trains there. Right now you can watch the cattle drives in the morning and afternoon, twice a day everyday. There is a rodeo every weekend there. Dallas is a cosmopolitan city, with everything that you can imagine. Austin is considered the live music capital of the world. San Antonio is a very romantic city, it has a river walk downtown, which has been extended for about 15 miles. There is a brewery and they will be celebrating their 300 years. San Antonio was there long before the United States was united and it is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Houston has the astronauts with the Johnson Space Centre. There are cruises from Galveston. So there is a little bit of everything. In far west Texas we have the Big Bend National Park. 10% of Texas is Texas is desert which is surprising for many UK visitors. Speaking of visitors we have seen an increase of 18% in visitors. About 2,10,000 from the UK have visited Texas in 2015.
Travel And Tour World: Are there any new markets that you are looking at like China, India, any new destination that might not be that aware of Texas as a destination?
Tommy Woods: It is amazing that the number of Australians visiting Texas has increased to almost 60% in 2015. We are already marketing that and we have direct flights from Sydney to Dallas and from Auckland, New Zealand to Houston. Of course India as well as China is a huge market. Latin America is amazing always, we get more than 7 billion visitors from Mexico into Texas every year. Mexico is the number one market, China is number two and the United Kingdom is number three, and that is why it is so important for us to be here at World Travel Market, we get to talk to different people, the tour operators from WTM. It is exciting to meet them over here.
Travel And Tour World: Tell us something about the street foods of Texas.
Tommy Woods: Barbecue is just the beginning. All the Mexican food that you get over here in the UK is Tex-Mex. The Tex-Mex food is wonderful. But with over 100 kms of coastline, we have wonderful seafood as well. There are influences of all different cultures and all different kinds of food in Texas. It is really a gastronomical paradise wherever you go. In San Antonio we have the Culinary Institute of America, you get some dine around as well. Of course you have the world famous Margaritas. We also have some wonderful craft beer trails. Five minutes from DFW Airport there are plenty of grape vines where fresh wine is produced