Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Garza says Laredoans shouldn't say "McAllen eats our lunch" while S.A.eats our Eagle Ford lunch !
Excerpted from today's Laredo Morning Times
Councilman Mike Garza used the presentation to take a swipe at critics of the city’s trade policies.
“Everybody mentions McAllen,” he said. “Our own worst critic is our individual people in Laredo that criticize what we’re doing and it hurts me to no end … Everyone is wanting to follow us.”
Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Blasita Lopez played a television commercial for council members that recently advertised Laredo to Austin viewers. She said the commercial was indicative of efforts to promote Laredo across the rest of Texas, in addition to Mexico.
The city has seen a 13.6 percent increase in hotel occupancy rates over the previous year. Lopez said Laredo received a boost from youth baseball tournaments and a Jehovah’s Witness event this summer.Garza said the city should capitalize on that success by promoting more religious gatherings in the city.
Lopez said her department would also incorporate the baseball stadium in North Laredo when promoting the city as a destination to other parts of Texas. But she acknowledged that mistaken perceptions of Laredo as an unsafe city had hampered efforts to attract more visitors. The construction of the baseball stadium and the Max A. Mandel golf course in West Laredo are part of efforts to attract visitors to Laredo in light of evaporating tourism in Nuevo Laredo.
But Garza said he was frustrated by the absence of efforts to bring more jobs from the Eagle Ford shale to Laredo. Increased sales tax revenues associated with oil and gas activity contributed to a 13 percent increase in projected sales tax revenues in Laredo.
The development of the shale play has brought new offices — and jobs — to South Texas cities like San Antonio for companies serving the oil and gas industry. “It’s in our backyard,” Garza said. “We increased 13 percent but could we have increased 20?”