Category Archives: Recreation & Tourism

RGV Airbnb Earns $11.5 Million in 2018

According to Airbnb, properties in its Rio Grande Valley host community took in earnings of $11.5 million in supplemental income in 2018. Approximately 80,000 visitors used the service while staying in the region. Cameron County hosts took in $10.5 million with 70,000 guests, while Hidalgo County hosts earned $947,000 with 9,500 guests. Willacy and Starr counties pulled in the final figures and guests. According to the most recent state-commissioned Texas…

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This Golf is High-Tech

A player at Topgolf in Pharr reacts to one of his shots. (VBR)

Topgolf is not so much about golf as it is a technology-driven entertainment experience. In fact, more than half of the people who visit Topgolf venues are non-golfers. And only eight percent classify themselves as avid players of the game. The new Topgolf in Pharr, the 50th location in the franchise, features three levels with 72 stations from which to whack balls out into a large area filled with targets.…

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RGV Towns Share Nature Prize

Thousands of black-bellied whistling ducks visit Ibis Pond at Estero Llano Grande State Park every winter, attracting birders visiting the Rio Grande Valley. (VBR)

From the deck at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Mercedes, I watched approximately 2,000 black-bellied whistling ducks in Ibis Pond as they looked for food, perched on logs and bobbed in the chilly November water. The park’s 200 acres of woodlands, lakes and marshes shelter an amazing abundance of wildlife from seven alligators to diverse birds, butterflies and 24 mammal species as well as native plants.  The mid-Valley park…

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Birding by the Numbers

Two birders scan the area with binoculars at Estero Llano Grande State Park. (VBR)

Some 800 birders visited the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in November, its 25th year as one of the premier birding events in the country. With dozens of field trips to regional birding hotspots and lectures by internationally renowned birding experts, the festival’s staying power is a testament to the economic impact of ecotourism, and particularly birdwatching, in Deep South Texas. While there are no recent studies on the financial…

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Edinburg Seeks Executive Director

edinburg hiring

The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and Edinburg Convention & Visitor’s Bureau is currently accepting applications for an executive director. The executive director is a key representative for business owners and employers in Edinburg. The position focuses on membership, tourism and advocacy, as well as quality of life. The executive director is responsible for the overall operations of the organization, being responsible to the board of directors for a full range of…

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McAllen Day in Monterrey Oct. 24

McAllen Day in Monterrey

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce, City of McAllen, Rio Grande Regional Hospital and McAllen International Airport are sponsoring McAllen Day in Monterrey on Oct. 24. This annual event gives McAllen Chamber members the opportunity to promote their tourism-related goods and services. The chamber will invite 150 travel agents, tour operators and media as well as 50 medical doctors to attend. Participation is $1,000. The cost includes a seat on a chartered flight to…

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Venue Gives Valley Boost

Welcomed with great fanfare and full houses, the $88-million, 219,000-square-foot Bert Ogden Arena opens a new chapter in the Rio Grande Valley as the largest entertainment venue in South Texas and a boon for regional economic development. An estimated 5,000 people turned out for grand-opening ceremonies and arena tours in August, entertainer Luis Miguel performed a sold-out concert in September, followed by a near sell-out for a WWE wrestling card.…

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Comeback in Brownsville

Mariachis perform at Noche de Garibaldi in downtown Brownsville. The musical event was patterned after the music scene in Mexico City’s Garibaldi Plaza. (VBR)

Downtown Brownsville is a happening place again. The once thriving central business district is undergoing a major transformation, and much of the credit is going to the city’s leadership and to the progressive vision of some of its residents. Brownsville’s downtown used to be a place bustling with people shopping for a variety of merchandise, ranging from fashionable clothes to ropa usada to household goods to furniture to gadgets of…

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Love of Golf Drives Business

Elliott’s Custom Golf owner Tim Elliott replaces the grip on a customer’s golf club. (VBR)

A bad motorcycle accident changed Tim Elliott’s life, sending him down a new road toward owning his own business. After almost losing a leg and unable to return to work as part of the Walmart management team, the once-athletic Elliott immersed himself in the study of golf and golf equipment. It was the only sport he thought he would ever be able to play again. “I read Golf Digest and…

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Relief is Spelled W-A-T-E-R

As South Texans look for cool freshwater relief to beat the heat, thousands travel to South Padre Island to enjoy the massive Schlitterbahn water park complex. Open since 2001, Schlitterbahn operates its summer-seasonal outdoor park with churning wave pools, water slides with varying thrill levels and calmer waters more suited for a relaxing tube float. In 2012, Schlitterbahn opened its year-round indoor water park and resort hotel. But elsewhere in…

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