WTM 2017: Texas to ‘pull strong’ after tragedy

WTM 2017: Texas to ‘pull strong’ after tragedy

The response to this week’s Sutherland Springs mass shooting and Hurricane Harvey has showcased the community spirit of Texas, according to tourism chiefs.

David Gonzalez, director of communications for Visit San Antonio, said: “We are the nearest city (to Sutherland Springs) and have the nearest trauma centre, so we have been doing everything we can to help the people in that community.

“We are going to do what we always do in Texas and pull strong.”

At least 26 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the First Baptist Church on Sunday.

Amy Zientek, director of sales for Visit Lubbock in west Texas, added: “The aftermath of terrible incidents shows how communities in Texas pull for each other. I lost count of the number of vehicles that went from Lubbock to Houston (following Hurricane Harvey) and it was amazing to see farmers loading up supplies to send down.”

Representatives of a range of Texan tourist boards attended WTM, and said they believed recent incidents would not affect growing interest in the state. Airlift from the UK is set to grow next spring with the launch of Wow Air flights from Gatwick to Dallas-Fort Worth via Reykjavik and Norwegian’s Gatwick-Austin service, in addition to increased capacity to Austin with British Airways deploying a larger aircraft on the route from Heathrow.

Major events for 2018 include San Antonio’s tricentennial celebrations, which will include a new arts and music festival, an 11-day Fiesta celebration and a tricentennial week culminating in a synchronised firework display across four of the city’s historic missions.

In addition to the celebrations, San Antonio has also been designated a World City of Gastronomy by Unesco, becoming only the second US city to achieve the honour, after Tuscon.

Travel Weekly coverage of World Travel Market

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