BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The level of interest in the Rio Grande Valley Partnership’s commercialization and investment tours is so great that the program is fully booked for the rest of the year.

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic the tours were virtual. However, now the monthly visits are in-person with bus tours arranged to showcase development opportunities. The tours attract potential investors, realtors, and community leaders.

“Everyone is super excited about these tours. I think it is just a unique and creative way to bring people together from our region, to collaborate, to showcase the individual cities and counties,” said Marie Garcia, public relations manager with Sames Engineering and Surveying.

“We are honored that we have been able to put this platform together and to merge with the RGV Partnership so we can grow it beyond what anyone expected. It has been a great success.”

Garcia confirmed that there is currently a waiting list for economic development corporations wanting to showcase their cities.

“We are fully booked up to January 2022 and we have several more on the waiting list. It is really exciting the way this tour has taken off the way it has. It has brought the Valley together. And that is to showcase our Valley as a great place for business and success,” Garcia said.

Thus far the virtual tours have taken in the cities of Rio Grande City, Edinburg, Harlingen, McAllen, San Juan and Hidalgo. The in-person tours have featured Pharr and Brownsville. The next one, in August, with feature Alton.

Garcia helped devise the program with Gabriel Garza of Credit Management Concepts.

“I give a lot of credit to Gabriel Garza. He and I over coffee decided that we wanted to do something different that could not only help our business but would help other businesses as well. It started with residential tours and those residential tours are still going on today,” Garcia explained.

“Then we went into the EDCs and started doing commercial tours. That is when Sergio Contreras with the Partnership joined on one of our tours and saw the potential.”

Sergio Contreras is president of the RGV Partnership. He was so impressed, Garcia said, that he offered to co-host the tours.

“Sergio invited us to collaborate with the Valley Partnership. It has been the best thing because Sergio has got a great support system and from there it has snowballed. I just thank Gabriel Garza for the vision that he had to collaborate the region together in residential and commercial tours,” Garcia said.

Some of the cities that, because of the pandemic, were required to host virtual tours now want to do in-person events.

“Everyone has really jumped on it and they are even wanting to do follow-up events so they showcase their cities in-person. This is a great opportunity. We also thank you, Steve and the Rio Grande Guardian, for covering the tours and adding value to those who are participating,” Garcia said.

“This is what it is all about. If we all add value to each other, then all of all of a sudden this whole region becomes more valuable and interesting to others that are looking at us as a region.”

Investors from far afield looking at the RGV


Sergio Contreras

RGVP’s Contreras said the commercialization and investment tours have been highly successful. He said interest is surging among potential investors for more information about the Valley.

“The tours have been an outstanding initiative for the Rio Grande Valley because they give us an opportunity to showcase the continued momentum we have in our communities. That momentum is in all sectors,” Contreras said.

“The first ones, held virtually, were well-attended. However, the in-person bus tours are blowing up out of the roof. We are now having to find ways to expand them. Case in point, Brownsville.”

Contreras said that in the case of Brownsville, registration for the tours was fully booked within a couple of days. He said the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation expanded the scope of the visit by incorporating a luncheon and two bus tours, one focusing on industrial parks and the city’s airport, and the other taking in downtown and the eBridge Center.

“Because of the demand we are going to have to continue to find ways to expand these opportunities and manage the tour sites,” Contreras said. “With Brownsville, we appreciated the opportunity to engage with them because they are a driving force in the Rio Grande Valley. They continue to celebrate something new each and every week. We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with them. We certainly appreciate all they are doing for the region.”

Contreras said he has been receiving inquiries from across the country.

“I have been getting calls from as far afield as California about our tours. We had people here from Austin and Houston for the Brownsville tour. They drove down because they want to meet the influencers. They want to drive investment down here. We have connected them already and they are going to follow up.”

Contreras added: “We appreciate all of our sponsors that support our efforts to showcase our region”.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Elva Jackson Garza, vice president and marketing manager for Edwards Abstract and Title Co., and Marie Garcia, public relations manager with Sames Engineering and Surveying. They are pictured at the the Rio Grande Valley Partnership’s recent commercialization and investment tour of Brownsville.


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