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Bull City Hopes To Lure Tourists With Customized Travel Packages

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham leaders are hoping to lure more people to the Bull City for long weekends.

Whether it is a night out at the ballpark, golfing or shopping, the Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to make the trip as easy and enticing as possible.

For example, the people who market the Bull City are banking on

The Streets at Southpoint

to be a big draw when the new mall opens March 8.

"No one in North Carolina has a Nordstrom's. Durham is the only one," said Shelly Green of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Durham CVB wants to make it easier for people to choose Durham as a vacation destination by allowing them to customize travel packages.

Some of the packages will be based on themes like sports or shopping, while others will be event-related.

"Ideally, you come to see the American Dance Festival, you go online, get your tickets, your rental car, and your hotel accommodations," Green said.

Each year, 2 million to 3 million people come to Durham, visiting places like the Carolina Theater or the

Durham Bulls Athletic Park

. Tourism officials think that the travel packages could boost the number even higher.

"I see tons of opportunities for us to gain stayovers as well as sell the rest of Durham," said Ken Lile, a hotel general manager.

The packages may also include gift certificates and rebates, and some of the hotels may offer discount rates. The city hopes that the travel packages are bargains that thrifty travelers cannot pass up.

Durham is the only city in North Carolina to offer the travel packages. They should be available the first week in March.