For many, Texas conjures up images of cowboys riding across dusty plains, camping by firelight and smoking hand-rolled cigarettes against a backdrop of desert adobes.
Yet it’s a vast state and clients heading there need to know the hotspots in order to make the most of it.
In the apt surroundings of Texas Joe’s Slow Cooked Meats, in London, and between courses of mouthwatering beef brisket and spicy chicken wings, I spoke to VisitDallas and Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau to find out why they make a perfect twin-centre getaway.
“The cities are a 45-minute drive apart – one hour if visitors use public transport – and both of them can be reached from the airport in just half an hour,” said Karis Masham, sales and marketing account manager for the UK at VisitDallas and Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Dallas and Fort Worth are served by 27 direct flights a week from Heathrow, operated by British Airways and American Airlines.
Visitors exploring Dallas should make use of the CityPass, which offers 40% off entrance fees to key attractions such as the observation deck at the Reunion Tower and The Sixth Floor Museum – dedicated to the life of assassinated president John F Kennedy.
Getting around isn’t expensive either; clients will expect to pay $5 for a one-day pass that can be used on the city’s light railway, buses and trams.
“Dallas and Fort Worth also have tax-free shopping, so tell your clients to bring empty hand luggage,” Masham added.
Where Dallas is cosmopolitan chic, Fort Worth exudes rustic charm. With year-round rodeos, cattle drives, craft beer tours and a multitude of Western-inspired thigh-slapping activities, from free line-dancing classes to bull riding ($4 for a ticket).
The venue is also home to 20 bars, and brave visitors can have a go at the karaoke competitions too.
“Dallas and Fort Worth are two Texan cities bursting with culture and energy, each in their own way.
They make the perfect combination of metropolitan city break mixed with cuisine, there should be plenty to appeal to Americanophiles.
“If your clients want the full Fort Worth experience, they have to check out Billy Bob’s.” Touted as the world’s largest honky-tonk – a country music bar and indoor rodeo – Billy Bob’s offers a selection of unique Western heritage and culture.
Not to mention cowboys and the best barbecues clients will ever taste,” Masham said.
It sounds as though the Lone Star state lives up to those images I had in mind, and that a trip combining Dallas and Fort Worth is a great way to experience both the traditional Texan lifestyle and the draws of modern America.