NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - This year marks the 45th year the Texas Travel Industry Association has traveled to different parts of the state to report on tourism and to experience firsthand what guests might enjoy while visiting selected cities.
This year, the association visits East Texas after a 10-year hiatus.
Wednesday morning the charter bus stops in the heart of the Nacogdoches historic district.
Just one attraction of several for Texas travel counselors representing twelve travel information centers.
Writers come too. They have less than 30 minutes before they're off to the next point of interest.
"We do an intensive 'fam tour'. It's kind of like a fam tour on steroids," said Davis Phillips, a board member for the Texas Travel Industry Association and along for the ride.
Fam tours are familiarization tours explains coordinator Davis Phillips.
"A sampler platter format-tour. So, the idea is to just get an understanding. To get a little taste, so when they go back they can talk about that,” explained Phillips.
The Texas Travel Industry Association, a non-profit that gives people the travel bug, has been leading tours for 45 years.
"We're doing 16 cities in 5 days," said Phillips about his East Texas tour.
Mary Jackson, a travel counselor at the Austin Travel Center on the state capitol grounds takes notes to better advise travelers.
"When you experience something first-hand and you get excited about it, your visitors get excited about it."
"Beautiful. Gorgeous. Awesome,” are words heard as the guests toured Mockingbird Suites and The Fortney House on Hospital Street.
First impressions are important. It's been ten years since this tour stopped in East Texas.
"Texas is a big state, right, so we take a different portion of the state every year and the idea is that once we cycle back around every 8-10 years than we get what's new in the area," explained Phillips.
It’s been ten years since the tour stopped in Nacogodoches.
Nacogdoches was privileged this time around. It was one of five communities selected for an overnight stay, providing the travelers a bit more time to take it all in.
Tyler, Marshall, Canton, Palestine and Lufkin were among the cities visited this week. TxDot reports collectively, the travel representatives welcome approximately 2-million visitors annually from all over the world.