Jay Trahan, executive director for the Orange Economic Development Corporation, believes it’s an exciting time to be in Orange, Texas.

Not only has the Downtown Development Project, the Senior Center/Meals on Wheels facility, the Central Fire Station and I-10 expansion are being built or will soon to be built, but Orange could possibly be a future stop for tourists.

Trahan and Darline Zavada, administrator of the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau, recently attended a national event sponsored by the American Bus Association in Grapevine for the first time. The event is for motor coach owners and operators and tour promoters and two have said they may stop in Orange this year.

“Their trips are planned two to three years out,” Zavada said. “Two are coming through Orange to San Antonio–one in February and one in August. They said maybe they’ll stop, stay overnight or eat a meal here.”

Zavada and Trahan originally had 28 appointments with the operators at the event. They met with 26 of them. She said they were “very fortunate” to meet with so many because other cities who attended these events year after year and they don’t get to meet with that many operators.

“Everything about it was positive,” she said. “They had an interest in Orange and they had questions about hotel properties, to dining. Two groups are trying to rearrange their schedules to make stops in Orange this year.”

Trahan said they visited over 20 booths in an effort to promote Orange tourist attractions and motel accommodations.

“It was a productive event because several bus operators asked for additional information. We had seven minutes to visit with the tour operators to create an impression,” he said.

Trahan said they were allowed to give the operators one brochure about Orange. Interested operators are also being supplied informational packets about the city because as Zavada put it, “There is so much more to Orange than just one sheet.”

The brochure boasts area attractions such as Shangri La, the Stark Museum of Art, First Presbyterian Church, restaurants, the Lutcher Theater and annual events.

“Our competitive advantage is our location on I-10. We’re the midpoint between Houston and Baton Rouge/New Orleans. We want to capitalize on the tour buses coming through here and stop here for a visit and stay in our hotels,” Trahan said.