Spirited Texas

Music legends, cowboys and astronauts are all part of what makes Texas so unique – but there’s plenty of other surprises waiting for visitors, says Charlotte Flach

With a guaranteed warm Southern welcome, Texas prides itself on its diverse experiences and creative locals.

Larger than France, the state is home to lively cities, mountainous national parks and packed sporting arenas, but it’s the melting-pot of Native American, Hispanic and German influence that sets it apart. Experience this cultural flare in its gastronomy, art galleries and live music and, of course, don’t forget to embrace your inner cowboy too!

Why sell it

Texas longhorn

Easily accessible by air in 10 hours directly from the UK, there are three international gateway airports in Texas: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Austin.

British Airways and American Airlines run daily services to all three gateway airports from Heathrow while Virgin Atlantic is expected to increase its four-times-weekly direct service from Heathrow to Austin later this year. United Airlines flies daily from Heathrow to its hub, Houston and Singapore Airlines flies direct from Manchester to Houston.

And there’s something in it for agents too, with a new incentive campaign meaning any bookings to Texas logged on travel trade platform Hablo will be in with a chance of winning a place on an exclusive agent fam trip to Texas in December 2023.

Who to sell to

Texas park

Couples are the state’s main market, with a particular drive to attract DINKS (dual income, no kids), empty nesters, and retirees. Families with older kids, foodies and adventurers will all appreciate the abundant outdoors, hearty cuisine and burgeoning craft beer scene.

The region’s world-renowned BBQ brisket had a starring role on a recent episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table, while San Antonio boasts the birthplace of TexMex cuisine. The city holds the coveted accolade of UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, one of only two is the U.S.

With its part-German heritage, brewing beer is a big deal in Texas, which has led to the creation of many weird and wonderful craft ales and lagers, plus its own version of Oktoberfest. Wine enthusiasts aren’t left out either as Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S., with over 50 vineyards located around Fredericksburg in the Hill Country alone.

Not forgetting the Great Outdoors, Texas is home to two National Parks, Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains, and Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo. The park is known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas”.

What to sell

Texas rodeo

Alongside its outdoor adventures and gastronomy, Texas serves up a rich cultural offering. Its Native American, Hispanic and German history combine to concoct inspiring music and art scenes.

In fact, Austin is known as “The Live Music Capital of the World”. Two annual music festivals, South by Southwest in March and Austin City Limits in October, draw huge crowds every year.

All major cities have Museum Districts, with a few timeless favourites including Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art, and Bullock Texas State History Museum as well as dedicated cowboy museums including the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, The Cowgirl Hall of Fame & Museum and the American Cowboy Museum.

To sample local cowboy culture, visit regular rodeos in Fort Worth and Bandera – the “Cowboy Capital of the World” – hang out in ranch country and experience the RodeoHouston, the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world.

And no visit to Texas would be complete without some space exploration at the Space Center Houston, where guests can meet a NASA astronaut.

When to sell

Texas river

Although any time of year is good for a visit, spring and autumn are best to avoid the summer heat and humidity and sporadic winter snowfall.

Texans consider any sporting tournament an event to be commemorated, counting a love of sports among their state-wide passions. Famous home-grown teams include the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Rockets, Austin Spurs and Texas Longhorns.

Upcoming hard-hitters on the sports scene such as the United States Grand Prix F1, will take place on October 22 2023 at the Circuit of the Americas, with Austin confirmed to be the U.S. stop on the F1 tour until 2026. Dallas and Houston will also be among the host venues in 2026 for probably the most-watched sports tournament of all: the FIFA World Cup.

How to sell

Texas mustang

Due to its vast size, agents may find it easier to concentrate on one region per trip, such as the Dallas Fort Worth area; coastal Houston and Galveston or Hill Country and South Texas Plains including Austin, Fredericksburg, Bandera and San Antonio.

Roadtrippers should head west to Big Bend or northwest to the Texas Panhandle to Lubbock and Amarillo, where they can join up with the infamous Route 66.

Book it with… Gold Medal

Twelve-nights staying in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Galveston, Houston and Dallas, departing September 11, costs from £2,469pp. Includes return flights from London Heathrow to Dallas Fort Worth with American Airlines and car hire with Alamo.