Custom Text

Art & Culture

The Woodlands Wins Two “Best of Texas” Awards

By  | 

THE WOODLANDS, TX – The Woodlands and Visit The Woodlands’ Executive Director, Elizabeth Eddins, have been recognized in the Texas Travel Alliance’s 2023 Best of Texas Awards.

Elizabeth Eddins Executive Director of Visit The Woodlands with Texas Travel Counselors Best of Texas Awards
Elizabeth Eddins with Texas Travel Counselors at the “State of Texas” Art Bench

Every year, the Texas Travel Alliance sponsors a 5-day study tour for the Texas Travel Counselors, where they travel by bus to visit different attractions, museums, parks, cultural centers, historical locations, and restaurants in various Texas destinations. This helps the Travel Counselors better understand what these destinations have to offer visitors and disseminate that information with coworkers and millions of travelers who visit Texas Travel Information Centers.

In October 2022, the Texas Travel Counselors visited the Greater Houston region for destination tours, each led by a step-on guide from the convention and visitor bureau for that destination. The swift study tour only allowed a few hours for the step-on guide to showcase all that their area had to offer. Visit The Woodlands’ Executive Director, Elizabeth Eddins, ensured that the Texas Travel Counselors had an amazing experience in The Woodlands as she spent an afternoon leading them around the destination and sharing key information about The Woodlands Waterway, Market Street, the Town Center Trolley, and more. 




After their study tour, the Texas Travel Counselors vote on several categories to determine the “Best of Texas” award winners, which are presented to a selected few of the study tour host destinations. Award winners for 2023 were chosen from the Greater Houston region where the study tour was conducted.

In this year’s awards, The Woodlands Executive Director, Elizabeth Eddins, was named “best step-on guide” for the Study Tour. Elizabeth shared this recognition in a tie with another step-on guide, Laura Haces with Houston First. Laura is a former employee of Visit The Woodlands, previously working under the guidance of Elizabeth as the Tourism Specialist. 

“Elizabeth’s passion for The Woodlands and the tourism industry definitely shined during the Texas Travel Counselors Study Tour,” said Nick Wolda, President of Visit The Woodlands. “She did an exceptional job showcasing what attracts visitors to our destination, and we’re incredibly proud that her expertise and dedication was recognized by the Texas Travel Counselors in the Best of Texas Awards.” 

The Woodlands made such an impression on The Texas Travel Counselors that they voted it the “Best City/Community” in the 2023 Best of Texas Awards. Visit The Woodlands’ tourism partners, including The Woodlands Township Parks and Recreation, Market Street, The Woodlands Township Transportation Department, The Woodlands Resort, and The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion worked together with Elizabeth Eddins to ensure that the Texas Travel Counselors had an exceptional tour of The Woodlands.




“The Woodlands is truly a special place,” said Brad Bailey, Chairman of Visit The Woodlands. “We are grateful for the support of our community partners who have made The Woodlands such a great place to live, work, and visit. It’s an honor to be named Best City/Community in the Greater Houston Region by the Texas Travel Counselors and the Best of Texas Awards.”

  • Best Breakfast – Table of Grace, Clute (Brazosport)
  • Best Lunch – Seahorse Bar & Grill, Surfside Beach (Brazosport)
  • Best Dinner – Killen’s BBQ, Pearland
  • Best Attraction – Texas Renaissance Festival Grounds, Needville
  • Best Step-On Guide (Tie)
    • Laura Haces, Houston
    • Elizabeth Eddins, The Woodlands
  • Best Attraction/Museum Guide (Tie)
    • Robin Cavanaugh – The Holocaust Museum, Houston
    • Dwendol Nelson – Buffalo Bayou Cistern, Houston
  • Best Hotel – The Whitehall, Houston
  • Best City/Community – The Woodlands

“Travel and tourism are so important to our state and to local communities and we are thrilled to highlight individuals and businesses who represent the best of the best and help our visitors have great experiences as they explore”, said Erika Boyd, president & CEO of Texas Travel Alliance.

Travel and Tourism employs over 1.1 million Texans in more than 60,000 businesses working to make Travel and Tourism the third largest export industry in Texas. Travelers to Texas helped to create over $7.6 billion in state and local tax revenues, offsetting the individual tax burdens of Texans by more than $555 saved per household. In The Woodlands, the tourism industry employs approximately 2,800 people and generates $27.6 million in tax revenue.