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9. Houston, TX

31 million; 14.5 million rooms sold; score: 2.31

Texas cities dominate the Forbes Traveler 30 Most Visited U.S. Cities list, and Houston is the king of the hill among the state

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9. Houston, TX

31 million; 14.5 million rooms sold; score: 2.31

Texas cities dominate the Forbes Traveler 30 Most Visited U.S. Cities list, and Houston is the king of the hill among the state

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Wow, 4 Texas made that list, tying us with California and Florida. I wouldn't have guessed Houston would have been higher than some of the cities it beat on that list.

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  1. Las Vegas
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Orlando
  4. New York
  5. Chicago
  6. Washington
  7. Atlanta
  8. San Diego
  9. Houston
  10. Dallas

I didn't see if this was toursts only, or business travellers only, or both. I suspect the number of business travelers had a lot to do with Houston's high ranking.

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It makes sense to me for the following reasons;

Oil/Energy biz is booming. Biz travel is crazy right now, especially international travel as British Air, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, China Air, Air Canada, and Aero Mexico have all increased the number of seats flying in and out of IAH.

Houston has always been a regional draw from Texas, Mexico, and Louisiana for people to come shop at the Galleria, visit a doctor, or spend a long weekend watching the Astros. I imagine this regional travel accounts for quite a bit since the peso is stronger (Mexican nationals are now buying homes all over town) and the Katrina effect continues to skew numbers in our favor.

The Texas Medical Center continues to expand and see increasing patient numbers. Many are not locals.

Since the expansion of the GRB, building of the Hilton, renovation of the Reliant Center (an expansion), and the addition of light rail connecting the venues, convention travel is way up in the city. The future looks even brighter.

The cruise industry continues to grow out of Houston-Galveston.

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As in every city.

Yes, but I think it would be nice if the leisure element in Houston was a bit stronger than it is.

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I'm surprised that Houston was so high on that list too - concidering that Houston is the largest metro in the nation not being served by a major theme park at the moment. Not that regional theme parks like AstroWorld were a huge draw for out of towners, but they help. All the recently proposed family attractions should make Houston be even higher on that list in few years (if they happen). HP might even help a bit.

I wonder if Galveston is counted in with Houston when they made this list. I don't know how it would effect it, but an awful lot of Galveston vistors are from Houston. In that respect, the Houston metro area is feeding on itself for tourism. Drawing folks from one side of town to visit another side of town. I guess thats the advantage of having a place like Galveston just 50 miles away. It can be a daytrip or a weekend getaway depending on what you're in the mood for.

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Also, a lot of Houston's 'tourists' are actually just people visiting family.

Do you think that doesn't apply equally as much to all of the other cities?

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I'm Surprised San Diego came in ahead of Houston. What's in San Diego that's just so amazing?

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I'm Surprised San Diego came in ahead of Houston. What's in San Diego that's just so amazing?

:huh: Have you been to San Diego in the past two years?

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Yes, but I think it would be nice if the leisure element in Houston was a bit stronger than it is.

Can't say I disagree. Although, it would more impact public perception in terms of the city's "coolness factor (I concept that I hate in general but recognize as having a potential impact on how a city is able to evolve socially, culturally and economically). Tourist-dependent economies generally don't pay the average person that well but I also think that with Houston's economy diversifying slowly but surely over the years, the added impact of a more intensive tourist profile wouldn't hurt the average wage at all. In fact, tourism professions might pay more in a market like Houston because there are other employment entities/industries competing for workers. Of course, I could be wrong.

So why isn't Houston seen as a tourist hot spot? Well, primarily, I just don't think the city and its surrounding "tourism bureaus" have done the best job of marketing what the city has to offer in a way that is a recognizable or intriguing to the casual traveler, and while the thought by some is that Houston's lack of traditional urbanity makes that a much more difficult sell, I more believe it has to do with broad-based recognition (Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Antonio, etc aren't traditional urban play pens either but they don't struggle for casual tourists either).

Simply put, the average American is as dumb as rocks when it comes to the country outside of your traditional hot spots (New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, Disney World/Orlando, etc) so they have to be exposed to new and unfamiliar things (such as what's in a city like Houston other than oil wells, glass skyscrapers, strip malls, billboards and large, eloquent homes) in a manner that clicks.

This is the biggest obstacle facing Houston as a casual tourist destination.

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Can't say I disagree. Although, it would more impact public perception in terms of the city's "coolness factor (I concept that I hate in general but recognize as having a potential impact on how a city is able to evolve socially, culturally and economically). Tourist-dependent economies generally don't pay the average person that well but I also think that with Houston's economy diversifying slowly but surely over the years, the added impact of a more intensive tourist profile wouldn't hurt the average wage at all. In fact, tourism professions might pay more in a market like Houston because there are other employment entities/industries competing for workers. Of course, I could be wrong.

So why isn't Houston seen as a tourist hot spot? Well, primarily, I just don't think the city and its surrounding "tourism bureaus" have done the best job of marketing what the city has to offer in a way that is a recognizable or intriguing to the casual traveler, and while the thought by some is that Houston's lack of traditional urbanity makes that a much more difficult sell, I more believe it has to do with broad-based recognition (Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Antonio, etc aren't traditional urban play pens either but they don't struggle for casual tourists either).

Simply put, the average American is as dumb as rocks when it comes to the country outside of your traditional hot spots (New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, Disney World/Orlando, etc) so they have to be exposed to new and unfamiliar things (such as what's in a city like Houston other than oil wells, glass skyscrapers, strip malls, billboards and large, eloquent homes) in a manner that clicks.

This is the biggest obstacle facing Houston as a casual tourist destination.

So, what would you suggest we promote?

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Food, museums, recreational opportunities, quirky little doo-dads that people like to stumble into off the beaten path like The Orange Show or the Heights antique corridor. Promote Herman Park and the Museum District as serious places to recreate.

Promote the fact that you can hang out in cute little coast communities like Kemah or Galveston and still come back to the city in time to catch a Broadway show.

Going back to the Museum District/ Herman Park, among the hundreds of media types who came to Houston for the Super Bowl, there were a couple of writers who commented that the Museum District was truly the most attractive area of the city, one that reminded of Boston along the James River, one that spoke of culture and maturity that one doesn't easily associate with Houston.

I think where the city and its boosters mess up is that the try to refer to these types of places in passing fashion with a mundane slogan or mindless factoid that doesn't really tell you anything about what the place has to offer, something beyond the standby 2nd largest number of seats outside of New York and that type of jazz--factually true but nothing that really tells you about the area and how it's laid out.

If you're going to try to sell people something, show it off!!

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Food, museums, recreational opportunities, quirky little doo-dads that people like to stumble into off the beaten path like The Orange Show or the Heights antique corridor. Promote Herman Park and the Museum District as serious places to recreate.

Promote the fact that you can hang out in cute little coast communities like Kemah or Galveston and still come back to the city in time to catch a Broadway show.

Going back to the Museum District/ Herman Park, among the hundreds of media types who came to Houston for the Super Bowl, there were a couple of writers who commented that the Museum District was truly the most attractive area of the city, one that reminded of Boston along the James River, one that spoke of culture and maturity that one doesn't easily associate with Houston.

I think where the city and its boosters mess up is that the try to refer to these types of places in passing fashion with a mundane slogan or mindless factoid that doesn't really tell you anything about what the place has to offer, something beyond the standby 2nd largest number of seats outside of New York and that type of jazz--factually true but nothing that really tells you about the area and how it's laid out.

If you're going to try to sell people something, show it off!!

I understand the appeal of the things you list, but are they really special enough to attract tourists? It's not really our bag. We attract shoppers from Mexico, families with sick relatives in Med Center hospitals, big-league sports fans and business people and their families here for long stays. We do this all pretty well.

Most cities have restaurants worth checking out and many even have decent access to performing arts at least close to home. Our art in our museums is a source of pride for the city, but really isn't worth much more than an hour's drive in a car as a destination in and of itself. If tourists are here for something else, then sure -- check out the Menil. I doubt many buy plane tickets to see it, though. There are also hundreds of "cute little coastal communities" that do it much better than the ones you listed. I love Galveston and it is getting better, but it's a bit of a tough sell as more than a regional tourist destination on most days of the year. Now, for cruises, yeah -- it's a great draw and people from all over sometimes stick around a day or so and see what's up. It's not in the leagues of the purely tourist destinations you list, though.

Dallas has done a pretty good job of making a tourism industry out of nothing. They also pull a lot of the Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana tourists who might otherwise come here more often. If we want to play in that arena, maybe we should follow their lead more.

That all said, I think we do pretty well without pandering to tourists. The amenities of our city serve locals in very high urban style. I always enjoy city living in Houston more than I do in Dallas. Dallas plays on the scenographic far more successfully than we do. We seem to capture the true urban personality of a city this size more successfully than they do. We do this at the expense of a "pure" tourism industry. If we put out the effort, we might have one on top of the huge non-traditional visitor draw we have now. I'm just not completely convinced we'd like our city as much if we did.

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Going back to the Museum District/ Herman Park, among the hundreds of media types who came to Houston for the Super Bowl, there were a couple of writers who commented that the Museum District was truly the most attractive area of the city, one that reminded of Boston along the James River, one that spoke of culture and maturity that one doesn't easily associate with Houston.

... one that remined of Boston along the Charles River?

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That all said, I think we do pretty well without pandering to tourists. The amenities of our city serve locals in very high urban style. I always enjoy city living in Houston more than I do in Dallas. Dallas plays on the scenographic far more successfully than we do. We seem to capture the true urban personality of a city this size more successfully than they do. We do this at the expense of a "pure" tourism industry. If we put out the effort, we might have one on top of the huge non-traditional visitor draw we have now. I'm just not completely convinced we'd like our city as much if we did.

This is a very good and interesting paragraph, Dal. I'll have to think about it some more.

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If we put out the effort, we might have one on top of the huge non-traditional visitor draw we have now. I'm just not completely convinced we'd like our city as much if we did.

Excellent post dalparadise.

The Forbes list is fun but kind of irrelevant when I found out that SF didn't count the metro area while other cities did. SF proper is only 49 square miles. I'm not sure if there are other inaccuracies but an apples to apples comparison would probably put SF in the top 4 instead of #13.

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I am trying to understand what you mean Dalparadise. No Houston vs. Dallas thing, but why be more like them when we are a head of them...Houston then Dallas thats not just Houston saying that it is America. :D I thought SA and Austin before Houston and Dallas. Fun read though Dal.

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I understand the appeal of the things you list, but are they really special enough to attract tourists? It's not really our bag. We attract shoppers from Mexico, families with sick relatives in Med Center hospitals, big-league sports fans and business people and their families here for long stays. We do this all pretty well.

Most cities have restaurants worth checking out and many even have decent access to performing arts at least close to home. Our art in our museums is a source of pride for the city, but really isn't worth much more than an hour's drive in a car as a destination in and of itself. If tourists are here for something else, then sure -- check out the Menil. I doubt many buy plane tickets to see it, though. There are also hundreds of "cute little coastal communities" that do it much better than the ones you listed. I love Galveston and it is getting better, but it's a bit of a tough sell as more than a regional tourist destination on most days of the year. Now, for cruises, yeah -- it's a great draw and people from all over sometimes stick around a day or so and see what's up. It's not in the leagues of the purely tourist destinations you list, though.

Dallas has done a pretty good job of making a tourism industry out of nothing. They also pull a lot of the Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana tourists who might otherwise come here more often. If we want to play in that arena, maybe we should follow their lead more.

That all said, I think we do pretty well without pandering to tourists. The amenities of our city serve locals in very high urban style. I always enjoy city living in Houston more than I do in Dallas. Dallas plays on the scenographic far more successfully than we do. We seem to capture the true urban personality of a city this size more successfully than they do. We do this at the expense of a "pure" tourism industry. If we put out the effort, we might have one on top of the huge non-traditional visitor draw we have now. I'm just not completely convinced we'd like our city as much if we did.

Wow, I could not have stated it any better dalparadise. Your first 3 paragraphs are exact feelings I've attempted to communicate for some time now. Often it's just a question of expression I suppose because I always manage to somehow communicate that I believe Houston is pure crap. :)

I'm not sure if I'm on board with your last sentence however. What you stated is correct but I think my personal desire and taste may be a little different from some of you guys. I say why can't there be a balance of Houston being what it is and actually having a "pure" tourism industry? Is it possible to play on the scenographic and enjoy urban style as well? I'm not saying Houston should be striving to be the next Orlando, Las Vegas, or San Antonio. In fact that is the last thing I'm saying. However places like Dallas and Atlanta give or take a little, are just as much business towns as Houston, yet if I am not mistaken, they do a little better on the leisure or vacation dollars than Houston. As a result things that many on this site may scoff at but Houstonians as a whole could enjoy like Medieval Times, Ripply's Museums, Bungee Parks, etc., don't give Houston a second look. I do understand it may be because those companies may not believe there is a market here for them, but I believe Houston's lack of effort in the "pure" tourism industry arena to attract traditional tourists may be a culprit. As you stated in your above post Dalparadise, I want Houston to "play in that arena". People tend to spend a lot of money on leisure destinations, why can't Houston get in on the action more?

I will openly admit part of my desire is based in ego, and again taste. Hizzy mentioned he hates the whole "cool factor" thing. Well, I get kicks from it. I love when outsiders find things about Houston cool. I love when "cool" stores enter the Houston market (especially before Dallas or Atlanta). I love places that appear fun and interesting. I'm not suggesting Houston should enter into a game of "keeping up with the Jones'" in terms of if Dallas trims a building in neon green we should ;), but I would love for Houston to try to put more effort into trying to stay on top of things so to speak and I think a great variety of city amenities or offerings helps with that.

I know one label Houstonians don't mind being associated with and that is "World Class". One particular thing doesn't make a place world class, a combination of different things do. However one thing most, if not all world class cities have in common is a strong tourist element (and a extensive rail network ;) ). Houston most definitely has the skyline of a world class city. The business of a world class city. The diverse population of a world class city. Lord knows the restuarants of a world class city. And burgeoning high quality Arts and Culture scene of a world class city. But I think we still have areas to improve on if we want to get there and tourism is one of those areas. Right now things are off balance much like our transportation system, i.e. 575 miles of freeway, thousands of miles of roads, and 7.5 miles of rail transit (I'm sorry, I had to). ;)

Back to my original question......can't we work out a balance between a "pure" tourism element of attracting the traditional tourist (outside of East Texas and Lake Charles), and the city not turning into Orlando and loosing our identity?

And one last question out of curiosity and with no pun intended.....I understand your concern about Houstonians not liking our city as much if we become more of a traditional tourist draw, but would you be as concerned if there was a extensive rail network already in place from both airports, to Downtown, to the Galleria, down to Galveston, etc.? I'm thinking in terms of tourist cars affecting our traffic and congestion.

Edited by VelvetJ

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Why not casinos in Houston? Look at these two examples that I found:

Example city #2. Atlantic City. Once apon a time was a nice resort city. Due to hard times in the region, AC was on the downslide. They legalized gambling in 76. The downtown resort hotels began gaming and new casinos went up downtown. Before you know it, it's the east coast gaming capital. Business was booming, but years later, crime crept up and brought it's demise. Other cities along the Jersey Shores decided to capitalize on the demise of AC by hosting gaming locations. Now, AC sucks. People who don't know any better and don't know much about gaming locations go there.

Example city #3. Orlando. Seems to be many locations within the city now and it works for Orlando. Families come to the city. The children have their fun at the MANY children's locations around town, and at night, the adults have their destinations as well now (without going to Downtown Disney). Works well, and doesn't bring/promote crime in the city. (But then again, who's looking for trouble when they are on a vacation with the kids anyway?)

Why not create a gambling district in Houston? I would love to have some sort of gambling district in the area. Galveston looks like a good option, but why not some along the Buffalo Bayou Master Plan (I would prefer East of Downtown)? Either that, or the city can create some fake resort in that "black hole" area along 288 South of Astroworld.

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Houston is too serious to be a tourist destination. Its work here. Its also too big and barren in its fringes. Unlike Dallas, Chicago or other cities, you need to rent a ar and burn money on gas to visit this city. In the end, the negatives outweigh the positives.

truth be told there are only a few cities that can bring in pure tourism:

International tourism from the ends of the world:

New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles

International tourism from Europe, Canada and South America:

San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, San Diego, Las Vegas, Orlando and the above cities

National Tourism:

San Antonio, Dallas, Atlanta and the above

And then any big city like Austin, Houston, Nashville brings in regional tourism.

as for the muesems, they are great but they arent a magnet that draws people in. Especially if all you want to see are the traveling exhibitions.

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Guest Marty
Houston is too serious to be a tourist destination.

You hit the nail with the hammer on that one, plus alot of people in Texas considers gambling unethical/sin.

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Houston is too serious to be a tourist destination. Its work here. Its also too big and barren in its fringes. Unlike Dallas, Chicago or other cities, you need to rent a ar and burn money on gas to visit this city. In the end, the negatives outweigh the positives.

truth be told there are only a few cities that can bring in pure tourism:

International tourism from the ends of the world:

New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles

International tourism from Europe, Canada and South America:

San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, San Diego, Las Vegas, Orlando and the above cities

National Tourism:

San Antonio, Dallas, Atlanta and the above

And then any big city like Austin, Houston, Nashville brings in regional tourism.

as for the muesems, they are great but they arent a magnet that draws people in. Especially if all you want to see are the traveling exhibitions.

Hey, Houston beat Dallas in this catagory remember? Houston-9th Dallas-10th. So much for that brillant analogy. Besides, things change. Houston may be too serious now, but it's not like there are any laws or 10 commandments from preventing the city from becoming more of a recreational tourist destination in the future. Maybe that Astro Dome project will make Houston climb all the way to number 8 on the list in a few years. Public transportation isn't exactly dead here, so maybe there's some hope here afterall. It's so nice having a little imagination.

BTW, I wouldn't want to rely on getting around without a car in Dallas either for a few more years. It's more barren on it's fringes than Houston. Not that I understand what that has to do with tourism. Especially since Houston is obviously attracting more tourism than Dallas is (according to Forbes).

Edited by Mister X

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Why not casinos in Houston? Look at these two examples that I found:

Example city #2. Atlantic City. Once apon a time was a nice resort city. Due to hard times in the region, AC was on the downslide. They legalized gambling in 76. The downtown resort hotels began gaming and new casinos went up downtown. Before you know it, it's the east coast gaming capital. Business was booming, but years later, crime crept up and brought it's demise. Other cities along the Jersey Shores decided to capitalize on the demise of AC by hosting gaming locations. Now, AC sucks. People who don't know any better and don't know much about gaming locations go there.

Example city #3. Orlando. Seems to be many locations within the city now and it works for Orlando. Families come to the city. The children have their fun at the MANY children's locations around town, and at night, the adults have their destinations as well now (without going to Downtown Disney). Works well, and doesn't bring/promote crime in the city. (But then again, who's looking for trouble when they are on a vacation with the kids anyway?)

Why not create a gambling district in Houston? I would love to have some sort of gambling district in the area. Galveston looks like a good option, but why not some along the Buffalo Bayou Master Plan (I would prefer East of Downtown)? Either that, or the city can create some fake resort in that "black hole" area along 288 South of Astroworld.

The only city that really got gambling right was Las Vegas, and that took many, many decades. Even now, Vegas is known for 'entertainment' and excitement than pure gambling, although I am sure gambling brings in the most dollars (no hard proof of this, just my thoughts).

Personally, I think gambling is bad news for a city (Atlantic City is a mess) and never brings in the promised dollars, but does bring in other elements that are not so ... savory.

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Hey, Houston beat Dallas in this catagory remember? Houston-9th Dallas-10th. So much for that brillant analogy. Besides, things change. Houston may be too serious now, but it's not like there are any laws or 10 commandments from preventing the city from becoming more of a recreational tourist destination in the future. Maybe that Astro Dome project will make Houston climb all the way to number 8 on the list in a few years. Public transportation isn't exactly dead here, so maybe there's some hope here afterall. It's so nice having a little imagination.

BTW, I wouldn't want to rely on getting around without a car in Dallas either for a few more years. It's more barren on it's fringes than Houston. Not that I understand what that has to do with tourism. Especially since Houston is obviously attracting more tourism than Dallas is (according to Forbes).

Trust me, things are more centralized in Dallas.

Secondly the 'type' of tourism you receive in Houston is different from tourism of Dallas. Most Americans dont think to visit Houston like they do Dallas. No, not even for NASA Space Center; Cape Canaveral blows away Houston. Anyways, Houston's NASA looks more like a child's indoor playground.

The only thing an educated national tourist could get out of Houston is museums and the plays they have in Downtown.

Edited by nmm

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Trust me, things are more centralized in Dallas.

Secondly the 'type' of tourism you receive in Houston is different from tourism of Dallas. Most Americans dont think to visit Houston like they do Dallas. No, not even for NASA Space Center; Cape Canaveral blows away Houston. Anyways, Houston's NASA looks more like a child's indoor playground.

The only thing an educated national tourist could get out of Houston is museums and the plays they have in Downtown.

Why should I trust you, especially since I lived in DFW for 9 years? Your idea of centralized already makes your demand for trust suspect. Given that DFW "tourist attractions" can be found in Downtown Dallas, North Dallas, South Dallas, Irving, Arlington, Downtown Fort Worth, North Fort Worth, Northwest Fort Worth, Far North Fort Worth, Grapevine, East Dallas, Far East Dallas, and Grand Prairie....among others....one would be hard pressed to call DFW attractions any more centralized than Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, or LA.

I would also question where you get your information on what "most Americans" think to visit. I WOULD agree with your stereotypical belief set, but stereotypical beliefs do not facts make. And frankly, an "educated national tourist" sounds like an oxymoron.

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It doesn't matter what kind of tourism it is. Houston came in at #9. Dallas came in at number #10. I guess you are just going to have to live with it. What makes you think you know more about tourism than Forbes anyway? And why should anyone believe you?

NMM, If you think Dallas is some kind of tourist mecca, you are delusional. Tourists hate Dallas. There is nothing significant to do in Dallas that can't be done in any other city in America. It's just as corporate as Houston. And it doesn't even have a beach near by. :P

Edited by Mister X

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What does dallas have to do over Houston, Six Flags? There alot more things to do in the Houston area than people know. Cape Canaveral is not in Dallas so how does that help Dallas? I still dont see how both cities made the list, but Houston came in 9th and Dallas 10th live with it.

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Why should I trust you, especially since I lived in DFW for 9 years? Your idea of centralized already makes your demand for trust suspect. Given that DFW "tourist attractions" can be found in Downtown Dallas, North Dallas, South Dallas, Irving, Arlington, Downtown Fort Worth, North Fort Worth, Northwest Fort Worth, Far North Fort Worth, Grapevine, East Dallas, Far East Dallas, and Grand Prairie....among others....one would be hard pressed to call DFW attractions any more centralized than Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, or LA.

I would also question where you get your information on what "most Americans" think to visit. I WOULD agree with your stereotypical belief set, but stereotypical beliefs do not facts make. And frankly, an "educated national tourist" sounds like an oxymoron.

Well, for one things the "skyscrapers" and such are in and around Downtown and Uptown. There is no equivalent of greenspoint or that west end along beltway 8 (cant remember name).

secondly, the educated tourist is the one who knows what hes looking for on his vacation.

thirdly, we have different ideas of tourist attractions. i dont see anything touristy in south dallas or far east dallas. i dont consider parks, lakes or sports complexes as tourist destinations. to me tourist destinations are those "things" unique to a certain city. yes dallas has a pretty lake to its east, but houston has a nice lake to its northeast as well.

but the downtown, the JFK memorials and museums, the arts district and the lite clubbing district are in and within downtown and uptown. fort worth has a whole different culture of its own.

No, i dont think Dallas is better than Houston, i personally like Houston for its down to earth mood and people. However, Dallas markets itself much better as some sort of tourist destination whereas Houston doesnt.

In pure tourism both cities suck. But Dallas has better marketing.

My mention of Cape Canaveral means NASA Space Center Houston isnt worth your time. Its a place for kids outside of their tram tours. Again, when you go to vacation you look for something unique, especially if you only vacation once in a while. As pleaseant as downtown is, it doesnt attract the same amount of glitz and glamour as Miami, NYC, LA, or Las Vegas; which are poster billboards for tourist cities.

Forbes is a business magazine. What do you think their criteria is for judging tourist hotspots?

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Forbes is a business magazine. What do you think their criteria is for judging tourist hotspots?

Maybe Forbes takes certain key locations within a city (like hotels and such) and the total number of people that actually visit those locations and counts them up to get their information. What a radical concept. It's called "tourism". BTW, tourism IS a business, so why shouldn't a business magazine's rankings be valid.

BTW, I'm still trying to figure out why your criteria for judging hot spots is superior to a business magazine or any magazine. At least Forbes explained how they came up with their rankings. I think you are going by something you heard in high school. The stuff you mentioned in Dallas is closer together than in Houston, but I don't think that is a significant way to measure tourism and obviously neither do the experts.

I think I prefer Forbes method of gathering data better.

Edited by Mister X

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thirdly, we have different ideas of tourist attractions. i dont see anything touristy in south dallas or far east dallas. i dont consider parks, lakes or sports complexes as tourist destinations. to me tourist destinations are those "things" unique to a certain city. yes dallas has a pretty lake to its east, but houston has a nice lake to its northeast as well.

Exactly my point, and exactly why I called you out on your post. Not only do you and I have different ideas and desires as far as tourist attractions, but so do the millions of tourists crisscrossing the country. Some from rural areas come for shopping, others for memorials or museums. Families may want to suffer at that hellhole (to me) known as Six Flags. While neither of us may consider a North Texas lake or a NASCAR track as desirable, hundreds of thousands of sportsmen and racing enthusiasts do. Small town visitors may be impressed with the zoos located in each city.

Forbes looks at visitors from a business standpoint. A hotelier does not care why you check into his hotel, only that you spend your money there. City tourist bureaus do not care whether you visit to look at downtown skyscrapers, visit a grassy knoll, or let your kids act like astronauts, only that you spend money in their city. I am a Dallas visitor, but only to visit friends and family. The CVB doesn't care, as long as I leave my money there.

I agree that Dallas markets better overall. But, I do not visit marketing. Fact is, other than friends and family, there is little reason for me to travel to Dallas, just as there is little reason for Dallasites to travel to Houston. The same things exist in both cities. However, both cities DO draw a substantial number of visitors, enough to place both cities in the top 10 nationwide. They come for a myriad of reasons, and they ALL spend money. Just because they want to see something that does not interest you or me does not make their money any less valuable.

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Well, for one things the "skyscrapers" and such are in and around Downtown and Uptown.

Per Grubb & Ellis, only 14.5% of the DFW area's office space is in downtown Dallas. Only 5.7% is in Uptown/Turtle Creek. This totals 20.2% of their office market, or 35.8 million square feet.

In comparison, 22.3% of Houston's office space is downtown, comprising 35.6 million square feet. So our urban cores are about the same size. The kicker: 11.5% vacancy in downtown Houston vs. a combined average of 19.7% vacancy in downtown Dallas and Turtle Creek. Empty office space doesn't contribute to business tourism.

There is no equivalent of greenspoint or that west end along beltway 8 (cant remember name).

Ever heard of Las Colinas? The Las Colinas/Irving submarket has nearly as much office space as downtown Dallas, has somewhat lower vacancy, and has more space under construction than downtown.

Edited by TheNiche

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Per Grubb & Ellis, only 14.5% of the DFW area's office space is in downtown Dallas. Only 5.7% is in Uptown/Turtle Creek. This totals 20.2% of their office market, or 35.8 million square feet.

In comparison, 22.3% of Houston's office space is downtown, comprising 35.6 million square feet. So our urban cores are about the same size. The kicker: 11.5% vacancy in downtown Houston vs. a combined average of 19.7% vacancy in downtown Dallas and Turtle Creek. Empty office space doesn't contribute to business tourism.

Ever heard of Las Colinas? The Las Colinas/Irving submarket has nearly as much office space as downtown Dallas, has somewhat lower vacancy, and has more space under construction than downtown.

Nice reply, Niche.

Las Colinas immediately popped into my head too. Of course, this is part of the schizo behavior of many DFW boosters. Half the time they want to include the entire market when comparing the Metroplex with Houston and the other half of the time they like to conveniently leave out the burbs when it suits their arguments.

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