Heritage Tourism

The Heritage Tourism Program works with local governments, organizations, individuals, and experts to develop thematic and cultural heritage travel products for the public. These print guides and mobile app tours reveal the rich histories of people and places across the state through both fabled and lesser known stories. Heritage tourism is a $7.3 billion dollar industry in Texas and accounts for more than 10.5 percent of all travel in Texas. 

In support of the Texas travel economy, the Heritage Tourism Program inspires visitation to heritage sites statewide through the development of the following products:


Interpretive Travel Guides, Mobile Tours, and Promotional Websites


Texas Time Travel Tours - The THC’s first mobile app was launched in 2014.  Working closely with partners statewide, the Heritage Tourism Program staff developed eleven statewide, historically themed tours, which interpret local community histories through image galleries, narrated audio tracks, and short videos. See the “Highlights” section below to explore our four newest tours launched in 2017.



Cultural Heritage Travel Guides  - Our print travel guides explore topics in Texas history and provide for heritage travelers visitation information on sites and locations statewide through historical essays, contemporary and historic photography, and rich travel writing.  Download or request the Hispanic Texans guide - available in English and Spanish versions - and African Americans in Texas, the first in our series of cultural-heritage travel guides.



TexasTimeTravel.com - Heritage travelers can search this comprehensive suite of websites by such varied themes as military history or historic cattle trails to explore cultural and historic sites located throughout the ten Texas Heritage Trail Regions. Texas Time Travel provides heritage tourism businesses and organizations free promotion of visitation opportunities and events, and presents Texas Heritage Trail partners significant value, having acquired over half a million website visits since its initial launch.




What's New

New Legislation Calls for Texas Music Trail

During the recent 85th legislature, Representative Todd Hunter filed H.B. 2079 charging the Texas Historical Commission with the establishment of the Texas Music History Trail to promote and preserve Texas music history.   The THC heritage tourism program will coordinate with the Texas Music Office to designate locations or organizations that are historically significant to Texas’ musical heritage, adopt an icon or symbol to represent Texas Music History Trail designation, develop itineraries and maps to guide travelers to identified locations, and develop eligibility criteria for designation.  The THC will begin development of the Texas Music History Trail in late 2017.

More About New Legislation Calls for Texas Music Trail

THC to Administrate Tom Lea Trail

During the 85th legislature, Senator José Rodríquez authored and filled S.B. 928, which calls for the establishment of a heritage trail to commemorate Tom Lea, an El Paso artist, muralist, author, and war correspondent who was known across Texas and beyond.  Under the legislation, the THC must designate locations that are historically significant to the life and art of Tom Lea, adopt an icon or symbol to represent the trail, and develop itineraries and maps to guide tourists to locations on the trail.  These marketing efforts will be funded privately, and the Tom Lea Institute, headquartered in El Paso, will publicize the Trail once designated. The THC will begin production of the trail in late 2017.

Community Heritage Development Workshops

In 2014 and 2015, Texas communities partnered with the Heritage Tourism Program to develop heritage tourism offerings through local level product development workshops. Explore the following case studies to learn more:

Exploring Hispanic Heritage in Laredo and Rio Grande City






The Historic Bankhead Highway Rediscovered in Big Spring






Weatherford and the Historic Bankhead Highway






New Historic Bankhead Highway Tourism Products in Mount Vernon