Strategically located at the intersection of several major transportation arteries, Harlingen developed as an industrial, distribution, and shipping center. Situated at the southernmost tip of Texas along the Gulf Coast, Harlingen represents half of the Brownsville-Harlingen metro area. The area’s economic interests include international trade with Mexico because Harlingen is home to many textile factories. Tourism also ranks high as an economic factor in Harlingen, second only to citrus fruit production, followed by grain and cotton production.
Along with military installations, many spring breakers and vacationers frequent South Padre Island to enjoy its beautiful, relaxing beaches and Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark for the interconnecting water rides and slides and much more. The development of wholesale and retail trades in the area, with light and medium manufacturing industries, plus an array of service industries have broadened Harlingen’s economic base. A growing specialty industry in Harlingen deals with the large-scale construction of multi-faceted retirement communities.
Due to the former military base in Harlingen, the city boasts an outstanding network of healthcare specialists and facilities that continue to expand, adding to the economy. Harlingen’s healthcare sector includes regional healthcare systems that provide services for psychological and cardio care. Communication technologies headquartered in Harlingen include Advanced Call Center Technologies, EchoStar Communications, Pocket Communications, West Corporation, and Time Warner Corporation.