Sunday,  March 24, 2019  8:07 pm

Visit Dallas celebrates new Air Canada YVR–DFW route

Visit Dallas celebrates new Air Canada YVR–DFW route
Mark Thompson, VP tourism, Visit Dallas; Sana Keller, Pulse Communications and Travel Marketing, representing Visit Dallas in Canada; Bonnie Walker, director sales – Western Canada, Air Canada; Edna Ray, regional sales manager, B.C., Air Canada.
Christina Newberry

Christina Newberry is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer based in Vancouver.

Visit Dallas met with Vancouver travel media yesterday to highlight new developments in the city and celebrate the launch of the new Air Canada direct flight to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport from YVR. Key to their message was that Dallas has more to offer than just what you’ve seen on TV.

“People think of Dallas as being a metropolitan city with lots of steel and concrete,” said Mark Thompson, VP tourism, Visit Dallas. “There is that, but there’s also lots of outdoor experiences,” he said, like kayaking, horseback riding and ziplining. He noted the thriving arts and culture scene in the city, too, takes many by surprise, especially when they learn that Dallas has the largest urban arts district in the United States.

“The arts district delights people,” Thompson told PAX. “People who haven’t been to Dallas in five or 10 years won’t have seen it, but it has every facet of art imaginable. When people talk about the arts, it can have an air of exclusivity or stuffiness, but that’s not our arts district at all.”

In fact, the Dallas Arts District offers several free attractions. Klyde Warren Park, which Thompson described as the “front porch of the art district,” offers free outdoor tai chi, yoga and kids programs, and visitors can ride to and around the arts district on the free historic McKinney Avenue Trolley. The Dallas Museum of Art, home to one of the most significant collections of pre-Columbian art in the United States, offers free general admission.

Starting on Sunday, the museum will host the largest collection of Mexican art to be displayed in the United States since 1954, including works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

The exhibit is “extremely exciting,” Thompson told PAX, not only because of the quality of art on display but also because of the message it conveys.

“We’re focusing heavily on international audiences,” Thompson said. “Mexico and Canada are our biggest neighbours and allies from the tourism perspective. We want our international visitors to know that we are a progressive, diverse, welcoming place to be.”

Sports are also a big draw, with professional football, basketball and hockey teams all based in the city. Hockey is a particularly big draw for Canadians, Thompson noted, with tickets priced much more affordably than games at Canadian arenas, even with the high American dollar. The downtown arena is also conveniently located for business travellers hoping to catch a quick game.

Hotels, too, offer good value even with the current exchange rate, Thompson said, with luxury rooms costing hundreds less than in other major American markets.

“People can have that metropolitan big city experience but still afford the shopping, dining, and other cool experiences,” Thompson told PAX.

The CityPASS program, which launched about two years ago and provides entrance to six of the city’s main attraction at about a 40 per cent discount, has been “stellar from every perspective,” Thompson said. “The reviews have been 99 per cent positive, and the price point is fantastic. From the traveller standpoint, from the agent perspective, it’s so easy.”

The Air Canada route from YVR to DFW, which launched Feb. 6, offers 75 seats daily in each direction, all year. That’s more than 500 seats per direction per week, noted Bonnie Walker, Air Canada’s director sales – Western Canada.

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