Laredo, Texas: Part 1
People who visit or pass through Laredo undertake this journey either for immigration, trade, birding, or shopping mainly. The major cultural tourist influx into the city happens when 400,000 tourists who annually attend Washington's birthday celebration, and US tourists, look for history and Hispanic culture in Laredo.
LAREDO VISITOR DEMOGRAPHICS
VISITORS TRAVELING THROUGH LAREDO TO MEXICO/ENTERING THE US FROM MEXICO
- One tourist attraction in Laredo other than shopping is its birding sites.
- US government travel website GoUSA, says that birding is a major tourist attraction in Laredo.
- Laredo observes a birding festival annually.
LAREDO CITY TOURIST/TRAVEL DEPARTMENT'S ACTIVITIES TO TARGET US-BASED TOURISTS AND VISITORS TO LAREDO
WHY MEXICAN CITIZENS TRAVEL TO OR THROUGH LAREDO
WHY AMERICANS TRAVEL TO OR THROUGH LAREDO
According to a 2017 study by Migration Policy Institute, 4% of Mexican immigrants in the US are under the age of 18 years, 86% are between 18-64 years, and 10% are above 65 years. The team thus assumed that this percentage applies to the immigrants who arrive at Laredo as well. Hence, the majority of immigrant visitors who travel to/through Laredo are between the ages of 18 and 64 years.
There was no precompiled demographic information about the visitors to Laredo. The team thus attempted to triangulate the data from secondary sources to obtain the demographics of Laredo visitors. The team searched for case studies from social media, including Facebook posts about visits to Laredo to establish a demographic pattern among the authors of those posts. However, there are no such Facebook posts available. Secondly, the team tried to find Laredo traveler information from the discussion forums of travel websites like TravelAdvisor and TripSavvy, but most of those forums were discussing the safety concerns of traveling to Laredo, the city is a border gateway and also have a record of crime and violence. The assumed these concerns could be one reason why the team could not find much authentic travel experiences of Laredo online. Your research team also tried searching local online news sources such as Laredo Morning Times and KGNS to find any news reports that provide demographic information about the people who visit Laredo, but no such information was available. The team thus made the following assumptions:
Benzinga reported that 12,000 trucks cross the Texas-Mexico border through Laredo daily. A YouTube channel Skin Deep, which explores how people connect in the digital age, observes that nearly half of US-Mexican trade crosses through Laredo. The Federalist also reports daily, 10,000 people cross the border through the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge in Laredo daily, "to shop, work, and go to school." Based on the above information, your research team assumed that a considerable percentage of the visitors who pass through Laredo from Mexico to the US and back do this for trade purposes.
According to TripSavvy, George Washington's birthday celebration is an annual event and festival held in Laredo, which attracts about 400,000 visitors to the city. It is the biggest birthday celebration of George Washington in America and is a month-long festival. The Jalapeno festival, one of the largest food festivals in America, also forms part of the birthday celebration. The team thus assumed that this a major event in Laredo that attracts tourists.
Laredo Economic Development Corporation's website reports that a significant portion of the 6 million people from Monterrey and surrounding areas visit Laredo for shopping. KGNS TV provides the details of the annual number of visitors to Laredo as 1 million people (Mexicans mostly), and that the primary purpose of the visit is shopping. According to KGNS TV, a tourist attraction in Laredo other than shopping is birding sites. GoUSA revealed that birding is a major tourist attraction in Laredo. The city also holds an annual birding festival. Hence, the team assumed that birding is a purpose for which tourists visit Laredo.
The US Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that in 2018 December, 77,949 bus passengers, 322,535 pedestrians, 1,019,924 personal vehicle passengers, 363 trains, and 171,061 trucks crossed the US-Mexico border at Laredo. These stats indicate that at least a total number of (77949 + 322535 + 1019924) people excluding train and truck travelers crossed the border in Laredo. This sum amounts to 1,420,408 people. An article from The Federalist revealed that more people travel from Mexico to the US across Laredo than from the US to Mexico. The Washington Post also reported that people cross the border from Mexico to the US through Laredo in search of jobs, a better life, and to escape violence in Mexico. Based on these findings, your research team assumed that immigration from Mexico to the US is a major purpose for which people travel to/through Laredo.
TripAdvisor website's introductory note on Laredo lists the border's crossing points, and unique shopping and festivals, as well as the month-long birthday celebration of George Washington as the major attractions of Laredo. According to TripSavvy, Washington's birthday celebration is an annual event and festival held in Laredo which attracts about 400,000 visitors to the city. According to Texas Monthly, those who visit Laredo are people who love street life. Hence, the team assumed that US tourists visit Laredo to see the border crossing point, partake in street shopping, and to attend George Washington's annual birthday celebration.
From the above discussion, the team made the assumption that people who visit or pass through Laredo undertake this journey either for immigration, trade, or shopping purposes, as well as to partake in the Washington birthday celebration event.
A travelogue by a Georgian couple and authors of “Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges”, David Scott and Kay Scott states that the major tourist attractions of Laredo are history, Hispanic culture, birding, and Mexican food. A Laredo Travelogue blog article by Ray James Aguirre, a student in Texas, cites his reason for visiting the city as a homecoming vacation and says the tourist attractions in Laredo are the Hispanic culture, history, and sporting and festival events. Using these two travelogues as proxies for the experience of US tourists, and identifying the typical attractions cited by both, your research team assumed that US tourists look for history and Hispanic culture in Laredo.