By April Garner, THC Heritage Tourism Program Coordinator
The cities of Laredo and Rio Grande City are ready to show off six new tours and cultural demonstrations that showcase aspects of their vibrant heritage and history, developed through participation in a new series of workshops from our Heritage Tourism Program. The six-month series was aimed at developing innovative new ways of sharing the cities’ heritage with travelers, as an augmentation of existing successful tourism efforts.
Prior to the public launch of the new tours and demonstrations, they will debut for a special audience on March 6–7. Representatives from other Texas cities are invited to a behind-the-scenes roll-out workshop where participants will act as both tourists and product developers. Not only will participants be able to experience the new tourism offerings firsthand, but they will learn how they were developed, be able to interact with the local leaders and professionals who guided the process, brainstorm about their own local talent and heritage assets, and leave the workshop with an action plan for their own communities.
Consider bringing a group of interested participants from your city to learn while having fun. You’ll prepare dishes with local chefs using old ingredients and techniques in new ways. You’ll learn directly from locals how diverse organizations collaborate in the creation of a significant new downtown art walk and bazaar. You’ll see how historic facts are turned into street theatre, vaquero skills are put to use, heritage dance moves are shared, indigenous plants become rope or medicine, and how courtyard romance and defense are revealed.
Be inspired by what you see and do in Laredo and Rio Grande City to enhance heritage tourism efforts in your own city. If your community has sites related to Texas’ rich Hispanic legacy, you’ll also want to leverage the spring 2015 release of a new statewide travel guide and mobile app focused on the state’s extensive Hispanic heritage, something that will be discussed at the workshop.
Through the leadership of the Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau and Rio Grande City Manager’s office, both cities contributed considerable resources to the program while garnering successful involvement and collaboration from a wide range of local stakeholders. Involvement came from remarkable cultural heritage organizations and board members, private businesses and professions, downtown and neighborhood groups, preservationists, university and college faculty, historic hotels, talented chefs, and performing and visual artists. Contributing to their success, Laredo and Rio Grande City are both participants in several THC programs, including the Texas Main Street Program, Texas Heritage Trails Program, and Certified Local Government.
Join us for a fun and insightful learning opportunity—view the detailed schedule and registration info now!