Building A New Image: City Launches Laredoissafe.com
The City of Laredo is once again trying to change the perception people have of the gateway city by launching a campaign that city leaders say gets straight to the point.
Billboards are now up in different areas of central and south Texas advertising the website – laredoissafe.com.
And as our Annette Garcia reports local leaders and hotel managers are hoping it helps change Laredo’s image.
The new website is part of a new billboard campaign local leaders hope will change some minds, years after stories of out-of-control violence in Laredo made headlines.
“we had show after show with Lou Dobbs and Glenn beck really hurting our city…saying that people had to be armed like the old western days. That’s so far from the truth but that stays in the minds of people.
The false claims and reports of the drug war in Mexico continue to affect tourism in the gateway city.
Hotel managers say people only come here if they 'have' to.
“We have seen over the last few years that the perception of Laredo has diminished the tourism that used to come in.”
And most of the time, they call ahead just to ask a few questions.
“How bad is the violence here. My company told me not to go downtown because they say the violence is really bad.”
There have been campaigns aimed at changing that perception.
The City of Laredo has asked tourists to “rediscover the flavor” and come find out the reasons to celebrate here. But they say now they're making a little more blunt.
“I think we've been kind of going around and around and its time we deliver a concise message.”
The billboards will go up across central and south Texas hopefully drawing the interest of potential visitors.
Hotel managers say it takes just a few days for visitors to realize Laredo is very different than some think and that it is a safe place to be.
But until everyone else feels the same, city officials plan to keep getting the word out.
“We need to turn that around and we need to turn that around quickly.”
The campaign cost $12,000 dollars.
The city manager says the campaign may expand depending on how the message resonates with visitors.