Texas Tourist Development Agency:
An Inventory of Texas Tourist Development Agency Scrapbooks at the Texas State Archives, 1970-1977
The Texas Tourist Development Agency was responsible for promoting and advertising Texas tourist attractions and encouraging the development of additional attractions and facilities to draw in tourists. Prior to 1958, the Texas State Constitution forbade the use of state funds to attract immigrants, including tourists. Despite this fact, tourism emerged in 1950 as the state's fifth largest industry. When it was later discovered, however, that Texas's tourist industry was declining while tourism spending in the U.S. was growing, a 1958 constitutional amendment was passed that allowed the use of tax money to attract visitors (Senate Joint Resolution 4, Texas 55th Legislature, Regular Session; Texas Constitution, Article XVI, Section 56). In 1963 the state's first tourist advertising budget was allocated, and the Texas Tourist Development Agency was established (House Bill 11, 58th Legislature, Regular Session).
An administrator and board were both appointed by the governor, the administrator to serve during the governor's term of office, and the board to serve staggered six-year terms. The agency was organized into three committees: Advertising; Legislative Affairs; and Research, Development, and Special Projects. The agency's goal was to increase Texas's share of the national tourist market. To this end, it encouraged the development of new tourist attractions and facilities and advertised and promoted existing tourist attractions. In addition, it promoted a responsible and accurate national and international image of Texas through advertising and public relations.
The Texas Tourist Development Agency coordinated the efforts of several state agencies in tourism matters. It cooperated with the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and other agencies. It provided consultant assistance to communities in creating tourism programs and published a monthly newsletter.
In 1965 the agency expanded and, beginning in 1967, it sponsored a $12,000 touring exhibit on Texas: "Texas for a World of Difference." It participated in HemisFair '68 and sponsored the Texas Arts and Crafts Fair in Kerrville. Throughout its existence, it sponsored at least 19 tours for travel writers, editors, and agents that resulted in international publicity. In 1969 the board was expanded to nine members and given control and management of the agency. The board hired an executive director to administer the agency (House Bill 792, 61st Legislature, Regular Session).
Texas was the first state to use national opinion polls and motivational research to develop tourism advertising. Belden Associates opinion polling firm of Dallas conducted in-depth interviews. The national Gallup Poll supplemented this research with quantitative data. The research determined that Americans had misconceptions about Texas, believing that it was largely a desert inhabited by cowboys and oilmen and that it was without appealing vacation attractions such as inland water, beaches, forests, mountains, historic sites, and cosmopolitan cities. In response to this, the agency was able to promote Texas's cultural diversity, pleasant climate, abundant water, good accommodations, and sophisticated activities in radio, television, newspaper, and magazine advertising.
In 1987 the Texas Tourist Development Agency became part of the Texas Department of Commerce, which was established that year (House Bill 4, 70th Legislature, Regular Session). A decade later, in 1997, the Texas Department of Commerce was abolished and all functions were transferred to the newly created Texas Department of Economic Development (Senate Bill 932, 75th Legislature, Regular Session). In 2003, the Texas Department of Economic Development was abolished and its functions transferred to the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office within the Governor's Office (Senate Bill 275, 78th Legislature, Regular Session).
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, varying eds., agency statutes, the records themselves, and Texas Legislature Online.)
The Texas Tourist Development Agency was responsible for promoting and advertising Texas tourist attractions and encouraging the development of additional attractions and facilities to draw in tourists. This collection consists of a series of loose-leaf scrapbooks documenting United States and foreign travel writers' tours of Texas, dating 1970 to 1977, which were sponsored by the Texas Tourist Development Agency. There were a total of nineteen tours represented in the original accession. Materials representing seven of the tours have been retained. These materials represent a sampling of the tours by year, as well as by Mexican and Canadian travel writers.
These scrapbooks consist of photographs and newspaper and magazine articles written by the participating travel writers of the tours about the places they visited. Some of the scrapbooks contain lists of expenses and the amount each article written about Texas would cost in terms of advertising. The articles written in Spanish by the Mexican writers and those written in French by the Canadian writers have English transcripts which are filed with the articles. All of the newspaper clippings and newsprint magazine articles have been photocopied and placed in file folders.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
Researchers are required to wear gloves provided by the Archives when reviewing photographic materials.
(Identify the item), Texas Tourist Development Agency scrapbooks. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1981/131
These records were transferred to the Texas State Archives by the Texas Tourist Development Agency on March 27, 1981.
Processed by Laura K. Saegert, April 1981
Revised and DACS compliance by Jessica Tucker, December 2009
Detailed Description of the Records