Destination El Paso shows off local attractions, activities

Destination El Paso shows off local attractions, activities

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Summer is almost here, and so is the annual National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), a tradition to celebrate the U.S travel community and its impact on the overall economy.

Tourism brings millions of dollars into the El Paso area. In 2021, it generated $1.8 billion in visitor revenue and supported 13,700 jobs in El Paso, according to Visit El Paso officials.

This year, National Travel and Tourism Week will run from May 19-25.

While many people are making plans to head outside the Borderland, tourism officials are showcasing what the El Paso area has to offer, even to locals who have never experienced some of the region’s key destinations.

Destination El Paso took our KTSM crews and other media on a special “Familiarization” tour of El Paso.

The tour began with an early morning horseback ride along the Rio Grande in the Canutillo area. It was a peaceful, hour-long horseback ride that broke away from the everyday routine of city life.

“It was so amazing to get out of the city and just experience something that’s so beautiful and so natural and so real. It really definitely helped me get into a cool, different mindset. It was really beautiful to experience,” said Lucie Caderon, an El Pasoan taking part in the tour.

People can book a horseback ride at any time during the day on weekdays, by visiting the Facebook page for El Paso Valley Trail Rides and Horseback River Rides. During the weekend, people can book at any time Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons.

“I like going out there and seeing the river. The kids will come out really scared and then by the end of it, they want to keep riding and go fast. It’s good to see the kids get out and do something, not just on an IPad all the time,” said Jonathan Barrett, a horseback trail guide with El Paso Valley Trail Rides.

The tour continued with an indoor skydiving experience at iFLY El Paso, located at 430 Vin Rambla Dr. in West El Paso. For more information on their pricing and information, you can visit their website.

“Now, the most important part when we’re flying is remembering the hand signs, OK? Because when we’re in the wind, we won’t be able to hear each other. We won’t be able to speak to each other. Right? All our communication will come down to these (hand signs) right here,” Edgar M., an instructor with iFly.

The four hand signs are for “relax,” “legs straight,” “chin up,” and “legs bent.” These are the key techniques to ensure people are flying in a smooth manner inside the wind tunnels.

These basic skills are transferable to real skydiving, according to iFLY coaches. People can also take lessons to progress in their indoor skydiving techniques, climbing six levels that lead up to being an indoor sky diving coach.

“Oh my goodness. I had such an amazing experience. It was truly out of this world. And this was something I went into with a little bit of anxiety. I was a little nervous, but I went in, leaving so confident and having so much fun. Truly a 10 out of 10 experience,” said El Pasoan Victoria Duran.

She and others on the tour earned a certificate acknowledging that they reached “terminal velocity” at iFLY El Paso.

The tour concluded with a trip family-owned Zin Valle Vineyards winery in the Canutillo area.

Tour participants were treated to five different wines ranging from some of their driest to sweetest, complemented by wood fire pizza from Heavenly Slices’ food truck.

“A lot of people don’t know that the El Paso region and nearby is actually the oldest wine growing region in the country,” said Zin Valle Vineyards owner Ryan Poulos.

“Sometimes, people are a little intimidated by the wine tasting experience. They might come in not knowing what to do, but we like to welcome everyone in a casual manner. You’re welcome to try any three wines. We’ll find out what you like, and then you can just enjoy a glass or a bottle of wine outside with your friends and family.”

The winery is open from noon to 5 p.m. every Wednesday through Sunday, with live music every Saturday and Sunday year-round.

Travel is a $2.6 trillion dollar industry that supports 15 million American jobs and promotes other vital industries in the country, according to the U.S Travel Association.

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