Tourist Tracks

Outtakes 56

Tourist Tracks


We had a new family visit our congregation recently. I was talking with the wife regarding the area, and she asked about the town and things they should know. I told her I worked near the tourist bureau and would pick up the information she needed. I had not been to the Texas Tourist Bureau since they moved into their new facility. I could not believe the information available for Texas travelers. The racks were divided into the seven geographical areas of Texas: Panhandle Plains, Big Bend Country, Hill Country, South Texas Plains, Gulf Coast, Piney Woods, and Prairies and Lakes. No matter where he plans to travel, the visitor can easily find pamphlets on places of interest.

The travel assistant prepared a packet for the new comers and then handed a booklet to me. “You’ll need one of these for yourself,” she stated. I checked the title; Texas Events Calendar Fall 2012. Doesn’t sound like much, but I now have a list of events across the state that might be helpful for researching story locations and historic sites. I know which events are day trips and which will require longer stays. I’ve started marking my calendar with events that interest me as a writer and ones that just sound fun.

I never considered the Tourist Bureau as a source for research, but now I must reconsider the value of these facilities. Getting to know the state’s geography, geology, archeology, and history will add color to my writing.  Contact information provided in the guides might lead to experts in specialized fields who will have answers to my questions.

While state tourist bureaus do not have locations in every city, local Chambers of Commerce will have information on the area. Every state has a Convention and Visitors Bureau that will be able to send information on state events and historic locales. Email them and they will forward brochures and guides to you. In this day of on-line access to information, obtaining brochures and events calendars from state and local agencies may seem unnecessary, but the information might be the very thing a writer needs to add sparkle to his writing.

Cait Collins