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Southeast Texas officials look to strengthen tourism, spending in the region

Texas travel spending was down 31.5% In 2020, and yet the city of Beaumont only saw a slight 10% decrease.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Southeast Texas has been back in business for a while now and it shows as last weekend was all about Riverfest in Port Neches and soon crowds will pack Ford Park for the YMBL South Texas State Fair.

It's a big deal for businesses, and our region as tourism plays a significant role in our economy and everyone took a hit during the pandemic.

Texas travel spending was down 31.5% In 2020, and yet the city of Beaumont only saw a slight 10% decrease.

Tourism still contributed $310 million to the local economy according to the City of Beaumont.

Leaders have a plan to bring those numbers even higher and developers with the city are making it easier to find fun activities for all.

The goal is to attract more people to Beaumont.

“We’re trying to get away from Beaumont is boring, there's nothing to do here,” says Lauren Monitz of the Beaumont Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

That idea led to a new visitors guide.

She wants to improve Beaumont’s travel spending which declined 10% in 2020, during the pandemic.

“Open your eyes, there's plenty to do. Tons of ideas on our website, or visitor's guide,” she says.

It's a guide filled with artwork to guide you to standout spots in Beaumont.

“We have a brewery trail, beautiful Cattail Marsh, kayaking for the paddle trail at the Big Thicket, the Janis Joplin car from the Museum of the Gulf Coast. Our favorite Gator Country,” she says.

Speaking of favorites… The YMBL South Texas State Fair returns on May 20, 2021.

“It's a good time to have a great time at the fair. It's time for people to get out,” says YMBL president Harvey Zernial.

He can't wait for the ”rescheduled fair” to kick off after it was moved from March to May.

 “Oh, we're really excited because one, it’s what we do and it is our annual fundraiser for the Young Men's Business League,” he said.

Zernial says they expect at least 250,000 people to attend this year..

“We're also cautious about it. We're going to have the safest environment we can have, following the guidelines that are currently out today. And it is really exciting just to get activity and action back to what we do every year,” he said.

Folks with the city say it's a step in the right direction.

“We are all about turning the tide on this negative energy and bringing good times to Beaumont in any way shape or form possible,” said Monitz.

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