Is San Angelo West Texas' New Tourist Destination?
San Angelo is seeing a lot of visitors these days, but surprisingly it isn’t all business.
According to the second quarter reports Convention and Visitors Bureu (CVB) Vice President Pamela Miller presented at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the majority of out-of-town traffic from April to June this year came from vacationers.
[caption]The San Angelo Visitor's Center on Avenue B. (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)[/caption]
Raking in a hefty 38% of total visitors surveyed in the Visitor’s Center, vacationers surpassed those in town for weekend getaways (14%), who have made up the majority of visits for the past two years running.
But what is the draw that has San Angelo moving up the tourist track? San Angelo native and former Midland resident Amanda Henson thinks she’s got an idea.
“I think it’s mostly because of downtown. They work pretty hard there to organize events and to build up like a mini Fredericksburg or 6th Street,” Henson says. “People come here because they want to go to the bars and they want to antique. And it’s a lot nicer,” Henson says.
[caption]Located right on the Concho River, the San Angelo Visitor's Center offers a scenic view to city newcomers. (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)[/caption]
The scenery in San Angelo certainly has a lot more to offer than many of its drier west Texas neighbors. And the pricing is competitive too. Henson lived in Midland for seven years and returned to San Angelo this April due in part to these two elements.
“Everything [in Midland] is just too high,” Henson says of the inflation the city has experienced since the onset of the frac boom. “Plus it’s nice to be somewhere where you can enjoy just being outside.”
But however varied the attributable factors on the upturn in tourism may be, the shift in type of stay seems to be largely influenced by a single medium.
“Part of last quarter we saw the conversion,” said Miller in a telephone interview, “And part of that comes from advertising.”
Indeed the majority of visits logged in the Visitor’s Center are ascribed to the CVB’s vigorous ad campaign, and Miller assures that there will be no slowing down on her end.
But the numbers can be misleading.
Business associates ranked third on the list at 9%, but Miller concedes that the number may not necessarily be representative of actual business travel, as the Visitor’s Center does not often receive much traffic from business transients.
People on business ‘don’t come in and ask for a pamphlet,’ she explains, ‘They’re here on business and often don’t seek tourist information services.’
But whatever the reason for the visit one thing is certain: As the region and the community continue to grow, we can expect that tourism will increase alongside it.