AUSTIN — Texas Travel Alliance recently named Texas State Parks the 2023 Heritage Award winners at the annual Texas Travel Summit.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Heritage Award recognizes and honors businesses and organizations that have enriched the heritage of and made a lasting, positive imprint on the Texas travel industry. The selection is based on the organization demonstrating a history of exceptional achievement, exemplary business practices, innovative corporate culture, and a commitment to excellence to their customers and their community.

“Texas State Parks exemplifies all aspects of the criteria set forth in the TTA Heritage Award,” said Erika Boyd, President and CEO of TTA. “Their contributions to the travel and tourism landscape in Texas are numerous and reach to all corners of our vast state.”

Officials with the TPWD said one of the Texas State Park System’s key contributions to the tourism industry lies in its capacity to attract a diverse array of visitors, both local and out-of-state. Nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, history buffs, and families are drawn to these protected areas for recreational activities such as hiking, camping, birdwatching, and stargazing. This diverse appeal has led to nearly 10 million annual visitors, providing a substantial economic boost to nearby communities.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by TTA as this year’s Heritage Award winner,” said Rodney Franklin, director of Texas State Parks. “The impact Texas State Parks has on Texas’ tourism and economy stretches back to the start of the state parks system in 1923. To receive this award as we celebrate our 100-year anniversary speaks to the legacy established by those who came before us and the continued dedication of our Texas State Park team today to create a welcoming environment for the next generation of visitors for years to come.”

Furthermore, officials stated that the Texas State Park System has established itself as a resource for educational programs and interpretive services. Guided tours, workshops, and interactive exhibits educate visitors about the local flora, fauna, geology, and cultural heritage, fostering a deeper connection with the natural world and local history.

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