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Local chambers work to bring more visitors


By Scott Harvey

Greenville – As the warm weather season continues to encroach upon the region, residents are looking to make the most of the situation by vacationing.

Area cities are hard at work to showcase their attractions, hoping to increase visitor numbers and boost revenue. And in Greenville and Commerce, talks are underway to leverage the attractions of both cities to bring in more visitors.

"For some travelers, the individual things we have to offer aren't quite the tipping point to make them come here. But if we combine them all together, it is worth a trip," said the Greenville Chamber's Tourism and Marketing Director Milton Babb.

Babb is working with Commerce Chamber of Commerce Manager Trey Boyles to better market destinations such as The Planetarium, Northeast Texas Children's Museum, Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum, Mary of Puddin Hill and both of the city's historic downtowns.

Creating a more attractive event/destination for both the visitor and vendor, according to Babb, includes scheduling events several days apart as opposed to several weeks, plus incorporating more activities within each event.

One example would be the Downtown Blooms Backstreet Bash in Greenville set for this Saturday, May 22. The event, sponsored by the Friends of Main Street, includes the Keep Greenville Beautiful Home and Garden show, a student art show, Backstreet Bargains (Community garage sale) and Backstreet Bark (Pet event). Additionally, the Backstreet Boogie is an entertainment stage with live music all day, featuring an evening performance by singer/songwriter and Greenville native Ben Kweller.

Babb also made reference to how "staycations" continue to be a trend.

"Maybe people had been considering a trip to Europe, or the east or west coast. Suddenly that seems a little out of reach," said Babb. "They begin to look around for what is there that [they] could do closer to home that would still be enjoyable and make for a nice vacation."

And for the millions living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex just an hour away, Babb feels Hunt County would be a perfect place to carry out a staycation.

Other upcoming events include the Texas Lakes Trail Region to be held May 26 at Landon Winery in Greenville. This is an opportunity for the Chamber to highlight tourism potential to professionals from throughout the region. Tourism professionals, main street managers, museum and historical commission members will be on hand.

Audio Murphy Cotton Days and the Hunt County Fair will be held in June.

In July, a group of tour bus directors will visit Greenville. The event offers the chance to showcase local attractions in hopes that more tour buses will bring visitors.

In addition to those events, plans for Rally Round Greenville and Bois d Arc Bash in September are off to a early start.

"Sometimes we forget what all we have to offer here We're centrally located for a lot of staycations," said Babb.

For more information, contact Milton Babb at the Greenville Chamber at 903-455-1510 or Trey Boyles with the Commerce Chamber at 903-886-3950.