McAllen to Host Double Pageant

The Miss Texas World America Organization has selected McAllen to host its 2019 Miss Texas World America and Miss Texas Teen World America Double Pageant. The event will be held August 2 & 3, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center, and is expected to have approximately 500 attendees (including state-wide participants and audience); generating an estimated $262,500 for local businesses.

“We are delighted the Miss Texas World America Organization chose McAllen for its 2019 Double Pageant, and we are especially grateful to Della Fay Perez- Texas State Director,” said Lisa Ramirez, Convention Sales Manager at Visit McAllen. “Attracting events like this are conceivable with buy-in from local representatives.”

The winners of the Miss Texas World America and Miss Texas Teen World America will advance to the National Pageant in Las Vegas this September 2019.  The National winner of the Miss competition will move on to Miss World. The Miss World final show will be in Thailand in December 2019 where the reigning Miss World, Vanessa Ponce de León, will pass the crown on to the 69th Miss World.

“Since 1951 Miss World has inspired and empowered thousands of young women to use their talents to support the poor, sick and disadvantaged through its ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ charitable program,” said Della Fay Perez- Texas State Director of the Miss Texas World America Organization. “The longest-running international pageant, Miss World is not just a traditional beauty pageant, but rather a platform for women from across the globe to raise awareness and funds in aid of humanitarian causes. The organization prides itself on its philanthropic focus with millions of dollars being raised for good causes every year.”

For more information about the pageant, contact Della Fay Perez at (956) 867-0755. If you are a member of an association or organization and are interested in hosting your event in McAllen, contact Visit McAllen (McAllen Convention and Visitors Bureau) at (956) 682-2871 to find out if your group qualifies for incentives.

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Marisa Butler -Miss World America 2018

Freedom Bank Powers MXLAN’s Volunteers

MXLAN 2019 is coming and Freedom Bank is powering its’ volunteer component. MXLAN is McAllen’s 5-day interactive arts & music festival that celebrates Mexican culture through open-air performances, street food, artisans, and outdoor music. The summer’s premier festival is for a new generation and launches from the McAllen Convention Center July 24th – 28th 2019. 

“The volunteer component of MXLAN involves hundreds of volunteers covering more than 1,400 shifts over the 5 days of happenings,” said Lisa Ramirez, Volunteer Coordinator for MXLAN & Sales Manager at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “I am overwhelmed with gratitude by the generosity of Freedom Bank for fueling our volunteer efforts.”

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is awarding Community Service Hours, T-shirts, Tickets to Concerts and Gaming Events in exchange for volunteer assistance. 

“Freedom Bank just could not pass up the chance to support the volunteer component of MXLAN,” said Arturo Ortega, Chairman and CEO of Freedom Bank. “A lot of hard work goes into putting on a world class event like this, it is a tremendous opportunity and I encourage all students to take full advantage and gain hands on work experience. We also encourage other businesses to talk to their employees about signing up to volunteer. This is a great opportunity for team building and giving back to the community.”

If you are interesting in volunteering, visit the link to register for specific shifts: If you have any questions about volunteering, please contact Lisa Ramirez at 956-682-2871 or For more information on the festival visit:

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Arturo Ortega, Chairman and CEO of Freedom Bank.

Lisa Ramirez – Volunteer Coordinator, MXLAN & Sales Manager, Visit McAllen (McAllen Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau)

What is MXLAN?

MXLAN is created to be a true destination event with the purpose of attracting visitors from throughout Texas and Mexico. The 5-day summer music & interactive arts festival celebrates the past, present, and future of Mexico’s cultural influence on our world. The festival will take place in and around McAllen’s Convention Center from July 24-28, 2019.

Visitors can catch 5 days of free musical performances at the MXLAN Breakthrough stage, watch street artists, visit artisan markets, and walk in street parades at sunset- with a letter burning ceremony each night of M-X-L-A-N. Free-to-all.

Event goers can join in on real calenda-style street parades with live music, giant dancing dolls, and an unforgettable experience – Oaxaca’s La Guelaguetza performers sharing ancient traditions with a new generation.

Tickets available for the 7/16 MXLAN Unite Music Festival, Mezcal & Tequila Catrina night, Circo Hermanos Vazquez, Firemasters, Neon Nights 5K, Sabor de Mexico, MXLAN Mindgames e-sports, and La Guelaguetza.

There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities available, so if you or any organization would like to be part of this historical event, please contact Lisa Ramirez at or register online at

For more information and a detailed schedule of events visit

McAllen Tourism

McAllen Tourism in Uptrend

Published June 2019

Tourism is vital to McAllen’s economy, and the industry has been in an uptrend thus far in 2019. According to the Texas Hotel Performance Factbook,room revenues in McAllen were up 16.5% in the first quarter compared to the same time last year. In addition, hotel occupancy and average daily rates were up 3.4% and 8%, respectively.  This means more people are traveling to McAllen and hotel rates are healthy.

“When hotel occupancy and rates are both trending upward, this means our local hotels are getting a steady flow of travelers without having to sacrifice rate to bring them in,” said Robert Lopez, Interim Vice President of Visit McAllen.

This fiscal year, Visit McAllen has booked 55 conferences, meetings and sports events, generating an estimated $12,212,390 for local businesses with more than 17,000 room nights for local hotels.

“Our goal is to bring visitors to McAllen because visitors mean money. They shop in our stores, eat at our restaurants and stay in our hotels, and they are essential to have a thriving economy,” added Lopez.

Visit McAllen is a division of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Its mission is to position McAllen as a regionally, nationally and internationally recognized destination by developing marketing programs, gaining positive media exposure and directing sales outreach to attract visitors and conventions to stimulate economic development and growth.

McAllen to Host 2020 TAPT Annual Conference

Published May 2019

The Texas Association for Pupil Transportation will host its 47th Annual Conference and Trade Show in McAllen June 25, 2020. The five-day conference will take place at the McAllen Convention Center.

The Texas Association for Pupil Transportation promotes safe and efficient pupil transportation for Texas public school districts. The organization encourages the exchange of ideas and cooperation between transportation departments across the Lone Star State. Its members work to improve pupil transportation policies, standards and equipment on the local, state and national level.

The annual conference is expected to have 700 attendees from throughout the state participating in continuing education courses, professional certification classes, and a bus road-eo along with the largest trade show in the school bus industry.

“This is the second time McAllen is hosting the TAPT Annual Conference, and we look forward to making the event memorable for everyone involved,” said Robert Lopez, Interim Vice President, Visit McAllen.

The conference was previously held in McAllen in 2012 and is expected to have an economic impact of $857,500 for local businesses.

If you are a member of a professional organization and would like to host your conference in McAllen, please contact Visit McAllen at 956-682-2871

Photo: Marisa Weisinger, TAPT Executive Director / Steve Batchelor, TAPT Vice President

Casa de Palmas to host APTIV’s 2019 Executive Lean Leadership Training

Published May 2019

APTIV Global Technology Group selected Casa de Palmas in McAllen, Texas to host its 2019 Executive Lean Leadership Training. The four-day training conference will be attended by 40 international guests, generating an estimated $28,000.00 for local businesses.

APTIV is a global technology company that develops safer, greener and more connected solutions enabling the future of mobility. Its headquarters are in Ireland, and has a maquiladora in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

In August 2016 the company was selected by the Singapore Land Transport Authority to help implement a cloud-based mobility-on-demand transport concept. Providing a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles, they opened new business opportunities for existing and potential customers in mobility and connectivity, logistics, agriculture and mining. This was the beginning of three-year pilot program, with a target for fully operational service in 2022.

“We are thrilled APTIV has selected McAllen to host its 2019 Executive Lean Leadership Training,” said Lisa Ramirez, Sales Manager at Visit McAllen. “After reviewing venue options the global technology group determined the Casa de Palmas best met its needs for its training conference.”

If you are a member of an association or organization and would like to host your conference in McAllen, please contact Visit McAllen (McAllen Convention & Visitors Bureau) at 956-682-2871 to find out if your group qualifies for incentives.

Visit McAllen Celebrates NTTW

Visit McAllen Celebrates National Travel & Tourism Week

Published April 2019

WHO:         Steve Ahlenius, President, McAllen Chamber of Commerce

                    McAllen Mayor, Jim Darling

WHAT:       National Travel & Tourism Week

WHEN:       Monday, May 6, 2019     10:00a.m.

WHERE:    McAllen Convention Center – Oval Park

                  700 Convention Center Boulevard


Visit McAllen will lead McAllen’s travel and tourism community during a weeklong celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week, May 5-11, 2019.

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) unites communities across the country to celebrate how travel matters to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being. 

The theme of this year’s NTTW, “Travel Matters,” highlights the innumerable ways in which travel makes up the fabric of McAllen’s culture and economy.  NTTW celebrates all different facets of travel: the economy, new experiences, jobs, infrastructure, health benefits, hometown pride and how travel strengthens families. 

“I am proud to join the McAllen Convention & Visitors Bureau in celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week,” said Mayor Jim Darling.  “The travel and tourism industry is crucial to the local, state and national economy, from the travel-related taxes and revenue that are generated, and for the millions of people that are employed directly and indirectly in the diverse jobs in the travel industry.  From airline and hotel employees to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, these employees not only assist those who travel to McAllen for business or pleasure, but also and more importantly, they represent our city to them.  Those workers help to fuel our local economy and I salute and thank everyone who works in this industry for their service to those who travel and continue to return to McAllen.”

The celebration kicks off May 6th with the unveiling of a specially designed photo op piece that will be located at the McAllen Convention Center – Oval Park. Other activities include the McAllen Chamber Greeters welcoming arrivals at the McAllen International Airport on May 7th and rounding out the week on May 11th Commissioner Omar Quintanilla will help celebrate travel & tourism at Sunset Live at the McAllen Convention Center with “Be a Visitor in Your Hometown” Staycation packages and Aeromar ticket giveaways.

National Travel & Tourism Week

Visit McAllen is hosting a variety of special events and engaging social media activities in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week! Here’s the line-up:

April 29, 2019
Door decals & buttons for Front Desk staff ready for delivery or pick-up from the Chamber.

May 6, 2019
Press Conference to Kick-off NTTW / Unveiling of custom designed photo-op piece 10:00 am @McAllen Convention Center – Oval Park

May 7, 2019
McAllen Greeters Welcome arriving travelers 5:00 pm @McAllen International Airport

May 11, 2019
Sunset Live helps celebrate NTTW 6:00 pm @McAllen Convention Center – Oval Park

For more information call Leigh Wooldridge at 956-682-2871

Lopez Named Interim Vice President of Visit McAllen

McAllen Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, Steve Ahlenius, has named Robert Lopez Interim Vice President of Visit McAllen. Lopez has served as the organization’s Director of Sales for seven years and has 13 years experience working in the hospitality industry. As Director of Sales, he has accounted for 73% of the total hotel room nights generated by the McAllen CVB over the last seven years, with an estimated economic impact of $73,054,182.

“We have made major strides forward in positioning McAllen as a premier destination for meetings, conventions and tournaments, and I look to continue that momentum and having a positive impact on the tourism industry,” said Lopez

Lopez is a member of the National Association of Sports Commissions where he earned his Certified Sports Event Executive accreditation and is responsible for revitalizing the sports tourism industry in McAllen. During his time as Director of Sales, McAllen hosted the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Games of Texas and Pop Warner Southwest Regional Championships twice, for the first time in each organization’s history.

“Rob brings a keen insight and understanding of selling and booking events. He is whip smart and dynamic. The McAllen CVB is on pace to have a record year and I wanted to ensure that momentum Nancy Millar started this year continues.” Said Steve Ahlenius, President and CEO of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

Lopez is a McAllen native and graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American where he earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He is a member of the Texas Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus where he served on its board of directors in 2017.  In addition, Lopez is a Leadership McAllen graduate and a member of McAllen’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board.