Courier April/May Courier - Page 42

COMPASS West South Central U.S. COMPILED BY PAT HENDERSON A Texas six-step NTA has more than 25 DMO members across Texas, giving tour operators plenty of colleagues they can turn to for itinerary assistance. The following six Lone Star State destinations provide unique experiences, and representatives from the local DMOs offer advice on what groups should see and do. Kerrville Responses provided by Kashion Smith of the Amarillo CVC Responses provided by Charlie McIlvain, CTP, of the Kerrville CVB Why is your Amarillo such a great place? Tell us why Kerrville is such a great destination. Amarillo has that one-of-a-kind West Texas hospitality! Not only is our service top-notch, groups also have many types of attractions, hotels and restau- rants to choose from. Visitors to the Texas Hill Country experience an exceptional quality of life. The Guadalupe River flows through downtown Kerrville, and we have two live theaters, many art galleries, excellent dining opportunities and a mild climate. Y.O. Ranch What are some of your top attractions? What are some of your marquee attractions? The Big Texan Steak Ranch and Brewery and the Cadillac Ranch, both Route 66 icons; Palo Duro Canyon, which is home to “Texas,” the outdoor musical; and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum The Coming King Prayer Sculpture Garden, ideal for the religious mar- ket; the Y.O. Ranch, with its exotic game ranch tour; Riverside Nature Center; and art galleries, including the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center What are a couple of good annual festivals? What insider knowledge would help a tour operator package your area? The Coors Cowboy Club Cattle Drive and Ranch Rodeo (first week of June) and the Route 66 Celebration (the Saturday before July 4) Spending 14 years as a receptive tour operator, I can answer that question. Groups can easily spend three days and two nights here and make visits to nearby Texas Hill Country spots—Bandera, Fredericksburg, Luckenbach, Hunt, Ingram—before they venture to San Antonio, Austin or Dallas/Fort Worth. What advice would you give a tour operator regarding packaging your area? We are the perfect stop between Oklahoma City and Albuquerque. To really enjoy our area you need at least two nights. To learn more, contact McIlvain at charlie@kerrvilletexascvb.com or go to kerrvilletexascvb.com. To learn more, contact Smith at kashion@visitamarillo.com or go to visitamarillo.com. Laredo Responses provided by Selina Villarreal of the Laredo CVB Brewster County Responses provided by Robert Alvarez of Visit Big Bend San Agustin Cathedral Tell us why Laredo is such a great destination. What makes your area great? Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park First is Big Bend National Park and its Fossil Discovery Exhibit. Birders from across the world come to Big Bend and go to the national park and to Post Park in Marathon. What are three popular attractions? San Agustin Cathedral, Fort McIntosh and the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum What is a must-do nature experience in your area? Make sure to pack your binoculars, because Laredo is home to some beautiful birds. You can try your luck at bird-watching at North Central Park. What advice would you give a tour operator about packaging your area? What advice would you give a tour operator regarding packaging your area? The timing of a visit is important, because we are in the Chihuahuan Desert, so summers are hot. To see the entire area takes at least three full days, but shorter visits can be done. Laredo is a great weekend getaway, and the Laredo CVB staff is ready to welcome all groups and give them an unforgettable experience. To learn more, contact Alvarez at robert@visitbigbend.com or go to visitbigbend.com. To learn more, contact Joel Vazquez of the Laredo CVB at jvazquez@ci.laredo.tx.us or go to visitlaredo.com. 38 April/May 2018 Laredo’s sunny skies, friendly atmo- sphere and cultural offerings make for an interesting adventure. Visiting groups have the opportunity to soak up Laredo’s history, enjoy traditional Mexican cuisine, and see arts and crafts. The Big Bend region is like no other place in the state. Groups who visit enjoy the remoteness of the area, which allows them to unplug and get back to the sim- ple things in life, like enjoying a spectacular sunset or seeing the Milky Way with the naked eye. What are some top nature- based options? Amarillo