Governor Abbott Launches New Tourism Friendly Texas Community Program

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Jan. 20—AUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott today launched the new Tourism Friendly Texas Certified Community program through Travel Texas in the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism and invited interested Texas communities to submit a letter of intent to begin the certification process.

"Texas is one of the top travel destinations for visitors from across the nation and around the world," said Governor Abbott. "Travelers to and within Texas generated more than $187.5 billion in economic impact and supported 1.2 million jobs across the state in 2022. Every region of this great state offers endless opportunities to experience the natural beauty, rich history, and true Texas hospitality that draws visitors from around the world. I invite all Texas communities to apply to become a Tourism Friendly Texas Certified Community to leverage the expertise of Travel Texas, explore travel and tourism industry partnerships, and learn about the resources available to further grow local tourism and jobs."

"The financial impact of millions of visitors to Texas destinations is critical to both the state and local economies," said Travel Texas Director Tim Fennell. "The Tourism Friendly Texas Certified Community designation is an opportunity for communities across Texas to show their commitment to tourism as an economic development strategy and continue to develop the many diverse attractions and experiences that draw visitors to the Lone Star State."

Similar to the first-in-the-nation Music Friendly Texas Certified Community and Film Friendly Texas Certified Community programs, the Tourism Friendly Texas Community designation is open to local governments or non-profit organizations that serve as the lead entity for tourism promotion and development efforts.

Benefits of the designation for tourism entities seeking certification on behalf of their community include the opportunity to strengthen or establish relationships important for tourism development, educate local leaders on the importance of tourism to the state, identify and prioritize locally driven strategies, and learn more about opportunities provided by Travel Texas and other state government programs available to support both communities and the travel and tourism industry.

Travel and tourism are critical components of the Texas economy and economic development drivers. In 2022, travelers to and within Texas spent an estimated $91.7 billion while exploring the state. This spending generated $187.5 billion in revenue for the Texas economy, creating 1.2 million good-paying jobs with $67.6 billion in earnings.

For more information on the Tourism Friendly Texas Certified Community program, visit: gov.texas.gov/tourism-friendly-texas

The mission of Travel Texas in the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism is to enhance and extend local economic development efforts by marketing Texas as a premier travel destination in out-of-state and international markets, generating non-Texan travel to Texas, thereby creating revenue and jobs for local communities and the state.