Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry Speaks at Tourism Reception

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, September 22, 2003  •  Speech

Thank you Scott. (Scott Joslove, President and CEO of the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association) I appreciate each of you joining us today as we discuss the economic opportunities that can build a better Texas. And I am grateful for what you do to make tourism the 3rd largest industry in Texas.

From the Riverwalk and the Alamo in San Antonio, to the Padre Island National Seashore, to amusement parks like Schlitterbahn, Six Flags and Sea World, Texas offers a great many attractions to attract families and visitors from across the state and across the globe. And in addition, Texas has its own unique mystique, a sense of identity that people recognize and admire all over the world. Travel just about anywhere in the world, and if you say you’re from Oklahoma, folks will ask “what country is that,” if you say you’re from Texas, they will know exactly what you are talking about, the Wild West and cowboy hats, oil wells and J.R. Ewing. So we are in a unique position as a state that attracts visitors worldwide.

Today’s summit is a first step toward building a strong relationship between the state of Texas and the tourism industry. Recently, we took another important step, moving economic development and tourism functions into the governor’s office, sending an unmistakable signal that we place the highest premium on jobs and economic growth in this state. These are tough times and there are few dimes to spare. But we want to know how we can do a better job of marketing Texas. One of the ways we will be seeking your feedback is through the formation of a Hotel Industry Strategic Planning Committee. My office will be working with you to designate members of this group to that committee. And we anticipate this group meeting twice a year to trade ideas on how we can better market Texas.

In 2002, travel and tourism supported 450,000 jobs and contributed directly to wage earnings of $12 billion. Travelers in Texas spent more than $41 billion and stayed a total of 314 million nights…the equivalent of every Texas household harboring a house guest 42 nights of the year. Jobs and economic growth are a core mission of my office. I ask for your help, your ideas and your partnership. Together we can build a more prosperous Texas. Thank you

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