Woodlands CVB diversifies efforts to draw tourists to communityThe Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau is reorganizing advertising efforts to attract more tourists to The Woodlands. With a new marketing company set to run a campaign trained on a more targeted demographic, advertising efforts will focus more on attracting visitors to community events, business conventions and concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, said Gordy Bunch, chairman of the CVB.

Bunch said that while The Woodlands continues its economic and population growth, it also offers more appealing attractions not only for residents but also for an increasing number of tourists and visitors.

“We’re continuing to expand our hotel capacity, the [Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion] brings a lot of people for concerts, and there is 10 million square feet of retail space for shopping,” Bunch said. “People love the hotels, the pavilion, the many restaurants and the ease of being able to walk everywhere.”

According to the CVB, the visitor services booths at Market Street and The Woodlands Mall recorded 142,505 visitors to The Woodlands in 2014 from more than 940 ZIP codes, 108 countries and 49 states.

Bunch said visitors and tourists travel to The Woodlands for vacation stays, weekend getaways and business conventions.

“We want to focus on the many business conventions that happen here, along with weddings, getaway weekends, concerts at the pavilion for the younger demographics and work closely with events, such as the Ironman [Texas triathlon],” Bunch said.

Bunch said medical tourism will also play a big role in attracting new visitors. With two new hospitals under construction in The Woodlands medical corridor, TWCVB is expecting more visitors to come to The Woodlands for medical needs and care while also visiting loved ones experiencing extended hospital stays.

Bunch said he believes many of those visitors will likely take advantage of the accommodations and attractions The Woodlands area has to offer.

In addition to its marketing efforts in The Woodlands and the surrounding areas, the CVB advertises throughout Texas, the United States and in foreign countries. The organization has placed advertisements in magazines such as Southern Living and the Southwest Airlines publication Spirit Magazine.

Bunch said local representatives often make trips abroad to promote The Woodlands as a medical and retail destination.

“While we have more of a focus in Texas and this region, we have spent some time in Brazil, Mexico and in Latin America to generate and reference tourism in The Woodlands,” he said. “Medical tourism and retail tourism are lower here than in those countries, so we pick up traffic from there.”

Karen Hoylman, president and CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, said with the combination of medical, retail, dining and business opportunities in the township, the community is already becoming known as a tourist destination.

“We’re not just a place to live—we make it fun for visitors, and they have good experiences,” Hoylman said. “And when tourists spend money, that sales tax [revenue] reduces our property taxes. So it really works out well. We’re very organized, and we coordinate together to bring in people from everywhere.”

Fred Domenick, general manager for The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, said he has seen an increase in tourists at his hotel, and he agreed with Hoylman that the township is becoming a popular destination for tourists.

“It’s the quality of life here [that attracts visitors],” he said. “When it comes to the restaurants and hotels here, [our quality of life] creates a welcoming and relaxing environment. I think The Woodlands is already becoming a destination for many.”v