16 NOV 2016: The second largest state in landmass and population certainly has a corral of trip advantages starting with its seven geographic regions and widely different landscapes.  It’s no surprise then that Canada is the second largest international visitor source market for Texas.  In 2015, the State reported 453,000 Canadians enjoyed the climate, attractions and hospitality Texans are noted for.

But with the plunging loonie the usual snowbird clients might not consider extended stays to the Lone Star state this winter.

Representatives from Texas Tourism were in town to dispel these anxieties as city tourism reps shared alternatives on how clients could stretch their dollars.

Getting to Texas

Chris Radley, account manager in Canada for Texas Tourism, relayed how 73 percent of Canadians travel to Texas by plane. The state, she explained, is accessible via short haul flights often under four and a half hours depending on the departure city. Direct flights to Dallas, Houston, and Austin make for weekend getaways while Forth Worth, San Antonio and Galveston could be hub and spoke trips.

Radley presented three videos themed #TexasToDo. Here’s a brief Texas snapshot.

Hiking Hit The Trail: Big Ben Country

The grandeur of the Old West, visit the home of Big Ben, one of Texas’ most famous state and national parks, and see a desert you wouldn’t expect.

“You don’t know the last time somebody set foot where you did,” says the video narrator J.D. Robb as he describes dark sky country. “You have to make the effort to come here.”

https://www.traveltexas.com/texastodo/films/hit-the-trail

Vintage Texas: wine country

It’s often said first time Texas wine tasters are surprised or ask, “Is this really Texas?”

But picture Texas in a bottle, as family-owned wineries with labels passing through many hands create fine locally produced vintages.  The unique limestone-based soil, we learned, makes every wine unique. There are varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec and others.

Guests viewed snapshots of the Hill Country wine trails, a spectacular backdrop of rolling hills, river valleys with lots of oak trees and hundreds of wild flowers along the roadside.

“There’s a collection of wineries. Drive in Fredericksburg to Johnson City its 30 miles but it would take you 4 days to visit all the wineries,” says winemaker Jonathan Leahy in the video.  

https://www.traveltexas.com/texastodo/films/wine-vintage-texas

Shop around Texas: Sales Tax Refund

Visitors can have a state sales tax refund after 30 days of purchase. Just present receipts in the various Texas Tax Back locations anywhere in cities like San Antonio.

http://www.txtaxback.com/

A veritable treasure chest of shops you can shop 365 days a year in San Antonio. From high-end to vintage apparel, there’s a flurry of boutiques at the 125-store known as Shops at Rivercenter, and outlets like Premium and Tanger with 30 percent-70 percent discounts.

https://www.traveltexas.com/texastodo/films/shop-around-texas

Loonie Savers

Cities like Houston and San Antonio offer many free events, activities, and attractions scheduled year-round.

In Houston, on Thursdays free admission is available at such venues as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, The Museum of Fine Arts, and the Children’s Museum of Houston.

For daily inspiration, Houston has a Museum District with a collection of 19 museums that can be explored by foot via four walkable zones.

http://houmuse.com/

https://www.traveltexas.com/texastodo





author

Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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