The first full week of May, destinations around the country pause to celebrate the economic driver that is travel and tourism. Irving is no different, as the hospitality industry is one of the city’s largest, supporting more than 23,000 jobs and generating $62 million in local tax revenues to support essential services and programs for the city. *
This year, more than any other, the U.S. Travel Association is encouraging government officials, hospitality employees, travelers and residents to reflect on the importance and Spirit of Tourism – this year’s National Travel and Tourism Week theme - as it’s been it’s been one of the hardest hit industries by the coronavirus crisis.
In Irving, where hotels have either closed or are operating on skeletal crews, the Spirit of Tourism is present every day, whether it’s through the restaurant community developing unique menu packages for curbside and delivery options, hotel employees engaging in community services, or its elected leaders, working to find ways to keep the tourism engines running, knowing that the recovery will be strong, and assets must be protected.
The city is marking the week in numerous ways. They include the following:
- To kick off the celebration, the Visit Irving and Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas (ICC) staff, along with members of the community and a few professional artists, spent three days, April 30 – May 1, chalking the sidewalks of the ICC with Irving tourism artwork and messages of hope. The result was so specular, Visit Irving plans to make it an annual event.
- Also on April 30, the Irving Convention Center welcomed Staff Meal Dallas, a 501(c)3 of event planners and executive hotel chefs formed during the COVID-19 crisis to feed in need hospitality workers. The chefs are able to prepare 300-plus to-go kits consisting of four servings of breakfast and four servings of dinner in the vast ICC kitchen from Wednesday – Friday; on Saturdays they use the center’s loading dock to hand the kits out. Staff Meal Dallas will remain at the ICC at least through the month of May.
- Visit Irving is encouraging residents to celebrate the week by uploading Irving images to use as their backdrops during Zoom meetings; make daily, themed social media posts during the week; support local restaurants; unleash their inner child with an Irving attraction adult coloring book; and be a tourist in your own back yard by enjoying daily digital concerts at Live Nation’s The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, taking a gondola cruise on the Mandalay Canal, visiting the Mustangs of Las Colinas, and getting a hands-on experience at the Irving Arts Center.
- The Irving Convention Center will be lit up in red, the official color of National Travel and Tourism Week. Across the street, the Texican Court, along with all Valencia Hotel Group Properties, will light up in purple, the color of hospitality because of its blend red and blue. It’s known to be a favored color among hotel designers, making a bold statement in a sophisticated way.
“This has been a challenging time across the board for the travel and tourism industry, said Maura Allen Gast, FCDME, executive director of Visit Irving. “But this industry and this city is strong. We survived 9-11, SARS, the swine and bird flus, and we will survive this. The rebound just might take a little longer.
“We’ve stayed in close communications with our client base, and we know they are ready to get back to their business, just like we are ready to welcome them back. If this past month has taught us anything, it’s that the power of “real” face-to-face meetings truly can’t be replaced by a screen.”
For more information on Visit Irving, click here. For more information on the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, click here. For more information on U.S. Travel and their plans for National Travel and Tourism Week, click here.