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Score one for the Visitors Bureau

Cool.

The president of CityPass wasn’t convinced there was much to do in Houston.

Mike Gallagher had been to Houston 25 years ago on business, and as far as he could tell, about the only attraction was Johnson Space Center.

But local boosters pestered him into coming back. Surprised to see Houston’s array of museums, a quality zoo and the Downtown Aquarium, Gallagher added Houston to his CityPass network of cities, which includes the more touristy San Francisco, New York and Seattle.

It was enough to convince him that Houston was a viable market, and the area’s own CityPass goes on sale May 13.

“It says to the world, ‘There is a tourist destination, and you should visit,’ ” said Greg Ortale, president and chief executive of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The bureau hopes to sell 30,000 passes a year, aiming them at Latin American tourists who visit to shop and go to appointments at the Texas Medical Center as well as to regional visitors and even locals looking to save money.

[…]

The Houston pass, which provides admission to six attractions, will cost $34 for adults and $24 for children.

The price is nearly half what visitors otherwise might pay if they bought tickets at individual ticket counters.

Four of the attractions are fixed: Space Center Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo and the Downtown Aquarium.

Pass holders also can choose two options from among four other offerings: George Ranch Historical Park or the Health Museum; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston or the Children’s Museum of Houston.

The passes, which can be purchased from any of the attraction sites, are good for nine days from the date the first ticket is used.

One point to note is that other than Space Center Houston and the George Ranch, all of the featured attractions are accessible via the Main Street rail line. If you’re staying at a Medical Center or downtown hotel, the City Pass will be a desirable thing to have. I’ve said before that one of the underrated benefits of the rail line is in helping to make Houston more attractive to visitors. This is an example of what I’m talking about.

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