Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted a rally Tuesday, May 5, 2015, at The Angelina County Chamber of Commerce to kick off National Travel and Tourism Week.
“Travel is big business and important to our economy,” said Tara Watson-Watkins, Executive Director of LCVB.
Findings from The Economic Importance of Travel in Texas, conducted by Dean Runyan Associates, were presented during the rally, which highlighted the economic impact of travel and tourism in the Piney Woods region.
“Tourism in Angelina county accounted for 1,400 jobs,” said Lufkin Mayor Bob Brown, citing the study. “Visitors spent $132 million in Angelina county.”
“There is no way that a town of 36,000 could achieve those numbers by themselves,” said Jerry Huffman, President of The Angelina County Chamber of Commerce. “We are very fortunate for facilities for family reunions, softball, soccer, and fishing. The Forestry Festival, Neches River Rendezvous, Piney Woods Purgatory, all of these bring people here.”
“Its not just a local or Texas thing, its an international thing,” said Kevin Jones, owner of Best Western in Lufkin, Texas. “This is a small market with a big advantage.”
According to the study, tourist dollars spent in Angelina county saved the taxpayer an average $65 per homeowner in property tax and added $1.77 million in tax receipts. The study also showed that over 46% stayed at a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast; 27.4% bought food; almost 14% were in the Piney Woods for shopping, and just under 40% purchased transportation.
“These are highly changing times, and these statistics show that” said Lin Lentz, General Manager of Crown Colony Country Club in Lufkin, Texas. “I think the Chamber is reflecting that.”