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Mobile tourism up in air as Victoria City Council considers budget

By Melissa Crowe
Aug. 28, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Updated Aug. 28, 2014 at 10:37 p.m.


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• WHEN: 5 p.m. Sept. 9, 11 and 16

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The next generation in community marketing could soon be hitting the road in Victoria.

As Victoria's tourism experts look at new ways to bring their message to the people, an idea to quite literally do that could be the answer.

Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau Director LaRue Roth presented her plan Thursday to purchase a custom mobile visitor information center.

"You can't do something remarkable by standing in the middle of the herd," Roth said.

A handful of cities across the U.S. and the Texas Tourism organization have already made the move from brick and mortar visitors centers to mobile marketing. The centers fold open to display marketing information and tips for tourists, as well as other information.

Considering the estimated price tag of $120,000 without much research on success, not all Victoria City Council members are on board with the plan.

Councilman Jeff Bauknight said the cities that have mobile centers, such as Arlington, Va., have major tourism attractions.

"Should we be saving that money to create a better attraction?" Bauknight asked.

According to Roth's report, 866 people made a physical trip to the tourism office in 2013. In 2012, 922 people visited the office.

"I'm looking at the numbers represented for people who do walk into the visitors center ... and I have a hard time correlating that with $120,000 being spent on a mobile visitors center," Bauknight said.

Roth envisions taking the center to the road, setting up at the Houston Food Truck Fest, major livestock shows, parades, conventions and locally at Victoria College, University of Houston-Victoria, the art car parade and other events.

"We've got to be more flexible and more innovative," Roth said.

Mayor Paul Polasek said the project is a great idea.

"I like the idea of mobile," he said. "It's forward-thinking."

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