Social Media Tourism Symposium 2012 El Paso

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If you’re feeling an increase in buzz on the Interwebs around El Paso, it is most likely thanks to Social Media Tourism Symposium going on Downtown at the convention center through tomorrow.  The #SoMeT, a conference about the use of social media in the tourism is here thanks to the thousands of El Pasoans who outvoted competing cities last April for the honor to host the gathering.

This means our shops, restaurants, Twitter feeds and other social media sites are packed with tourism experts from around the U.S., Europe and Canada talking about their experience in El Paso.  You can follow them on Twitter using #SoMeT12 to pick up conference tips or maybe help with #ElPaso questions. Here is a look at some of the Twitter chatter about El Paso so far:

You can also follow them  here – @SoMeTourism – or find them on Facebook at

The thanks for bringing the symposium to El Paso (and showing off our great food, weather, adventure opportunities and hospitality) goes to the hard work of the 7-person @VisitElPasoTX staff at the Convention and Visitors Bureau. According to the #SoMeT12 web report of  day 1, Brooke Underwood, Director of Convention Development for the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau told conference attendees on Wednesday her team spent “countless sleepless hours, Facebooking, voting, using street teams, passing out QR codes on cards “even in the grocery store”, reaching out to local TV and radio, and more.” The hard work paid off in engaging current and former El Pasoans and the city generated more than 20,000 votes.

Now they are here and we have the chance to show off why we are so passionate about our community. Reach out on Twitter, say hi on Facebook to make them feel welcome.

Kimber Foster, advertising and public relations manager with the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the organization is hoping the 230 attendees at the symosium will become ambassadors for El Paso.

“They’re Tweeting a lot and they have a lot of people following them. Hopefully they’re spreading the word and it will have a big impact for us,” Foster said.

The CVB is working hard to show them a good time. Attendees were bused to dinner Wednesday night at McKelligan Canyon and will have a Southwest pachanga tonight at Arts Festival Plaza complete with mariachis, a deejay and a Mexican food buffet.

El Paso’s food is a big topic of conversation, Foster said. But the CVB is also talking up the outdoors adventures available almost yearlong “because we have such great weather.”

The symposium is helping spread the word about El Paso’s ranking as the safest city in the United States too.

“A lot of people were surprised,” Foster said. She said many attendees have told her they didn’t know what to expect in coming here, but now feel it is similar to other U.S. cities they have attended for conferences.

Most of the attendees are staying at the DoubleTree Hotel and love the hospitality they’ve been greeted with so far, Foster said. Side trips to Tabla, The Garden and Hoppy Monk got good reviews. And the weather can’t be beat. Travelers from colder climates quickly shed their winter coats and wool socks for a lighter wardrobe.

“Its pretty neat to see Midwesterners and people from the East wearing flip flops and summer dresses,” Foster said.