Experience Arlington works to attract conventions, international travelers

11/20/2013 5:54 PM

11/20/2013 5:55 PM

With two major sports venues and a variety of family-friendly entertainment options, filling Arlington’s hotels on the weekends isn’t a problem.

But to bring in more sales and hotel occupancy taxes and help the economy grow, the city must do more to attract business travelers and tourists on weekdays, Experience Arlington President Ronnie Price said.

That’s why Experience Arlington, the city’s contract tourism marketer, announced several initiatives at its annual luncheon Wednesday aimed at luring new conventions and meetings, amateur sports, and even tourists from Canada and Mexico.

“To grow as a destination, we need people visiting Arlington and filling our hotel rooms on a more consistent basis,” Price said.

Part of the group’s strategy will be to hire a vice president for convention sales — a new position — to help book new weekday events and business meetings at the Arlington Convention Center, which is in the entertainment district.

Experience Arlington will also try to attract more amateur youth sporting events and competitions to bring families to town, Price said.

Experience Arlington is also developing relationships with airlines and travel agencies to promote the city as a destination for people from Mexico and Canada. The group’s expanded tourism marketing will also include highlighting attractions outside the city, such as popular destinations in Dallas and Fort Worth, for broader appeal.

Arlington, which is centrally located, is about 8 miles from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

“We will now include the region as part of the story. We know it is not smart to sell a traveler just on what we have in Arlington,” Price said. “We have such great attractions around us.”

Experience Arlington and the city are also working with consultant Mindset Brands Destinations to develop a new brand designed to promote tourism, economic development, and a sense of pride among residents and businesses.

Arlington is spending $50,000, and Experience Arlington is spending $60,000 on the branding initiative, expected to be unveiled next spring.

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