Laredo’s CVB marketing team sees success on multiple fronts

The city recently announced its marketing and tourism department had seen multiple members recognized for their work and others earning high-profile certifications.

Last week, city council highlighted their efforts and praised their work to entice visitors to come to Laredo.

After three years of classes, CVB Assistant Director Joel Vazquez and CVB Marketing Manager Selina Villarreal earned their industry certificates of Certified Tourism Executive designation from the Travel and Tourism College of the Texas Travel Alliance.

CVB Marketing Coordinator Ana Reyna Arzate was selected as one of the 2022 Emerging Tourism Stars by the eTourism Summit for her contributions to the city and tourism industry in Laredo. Through the recognition, she was given the opportunity to participate as a speaker in the 2022 eTourism Summit in Florida.

Lastly, Visit Laredo was also awarded with recognition in the “Innovation in Influence Marketing” category for their “Welcome Back to Laredo” last year in November. The campaign was spearheaded to ensure tourism returned to Laredo amid the reopening of the US-Mexico border.

Vazquez proudly told the council he has been working for the city for over 19 years since his initial start during an internship as a senior at United South High School. He explained he previously planned to major in nursing, but after the internship and his travels, he changed his major to business administration and got a minor in marketing.

“I have grown with the city; the city has been a family to me, and it’s been a pleasure,” he said. “It’s awesome to continue, I started as an information counselor and now I am the assistant director, so I have done nearly every position there.”

With over 14 years at the city, Villarreal began as an administrative assistant before climbing the ladder to marketing manager. She said she was blessed to say her job was promoting her home town and knowing visitors are having a great experience leading them to return to the Gateway City.

“What other better job could there be?” she asked.

Both Vazquez and Villarreal underwent intensive professional education focusing on marketing, leadership and management courses taught by college professors and seasoned travel and tourism professionals.

According to Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Aileen Ramos, Arzate was chosen as one of 140 other individuals as an Emerging Tourism Star, where she was selected for her dedication and her ways of finding new means of promoting Laredo. She said she was proud to hear of Arzate’s accomplishments and to have her work at the city for the past six years.

She was one of nine winners and The Travel Vertical stated an Emerging Toursim Star is a savvy individual in destination marketing and attractions who are new to the eTourism community of digital travel and tourism professionals or have risen to the challenges of a role.

Arzate told The Travel Vertical during an interview she came to Laredo for a six-week internship but fell in love with the city on the first day.

“The warm and friendly people, small-town feel and its fast growth made it a perfect place for me to live. I remember people telling me, ‘If you drink the water you’ll never leave,’ so I’m here 20 years later promoting Laredo as my own community,” Arzate told The Travel Vertical.

In regard to the final award, the Welcome Back to Laredo was to bring back visitors after 19 months of the border being restricted. However, Ramos said the campaign was vital and the first course of action taken by the CVB after the restrictions were lifted.

Through the Visit Laredo website, a number of activities, facts and city details can be found. This includes a border wait time link allowing Mexican residents to plan out the wait time before they visit Laredo. As food variety is a staple in Laredo, the website also features a number of restaurants for a variety of different cuisine.

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