The official statement from Galveston on how things are going...
4 Years after Hurricane Ike, Tourism Booming in Galveston
Galveston Island Reports 2012 As Best Summer Tourism Season in Island History
GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas (September 12, 2012) – Four years after Hurricane Ike struck Galveston on September 13, 2008 – causing the most destruction the island had seen since the Great Storm of 1900 – the historic beach town is reporting summer 2012 as its best peak tourism season on record.
"I think it’s safe to say Galveston is back," said Kelly de Schaun, executive director of the Park Board of Trustees and Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It’s remarkable how far t he island has come."
In just four years, Galveston has managed to resurface as a booming tourist destination, generating $8.3 million in hotel occupancy tax revenue this summer compared to the $7.5 million in tax revenue generated the summer before Hurricane Ike and the $7.6 million generated in summer 2011.
In addition, summer hotel occupancy in Galveston was up 6.8% this year compared to 2011, according to the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Much of the growth in Galveston has been attributed to new developments and attractions, such as the newly redesigned Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens that opened in 2011 and the $60 million Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier that opened in May 2 012. The Pleasure Pier amusement park replaced the former Flagship Hotel that stood on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico for nearly 50 years before being destroyed by Hurricane Ike.
Galveston is also growing as a cruise destination. In 2011, the Port of Galveston – the 5th busiest cruise port in the U.S. – welcomed three new ships to its schedule, including the brand new Carnival Magic and the Carnival Triumph as well as Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas.
This month Disney Cruise Line will begin sailing from Galveston followed by Princess Cruises, which will bring its Crown Princess to Galveston in December.
"Cruising has become a big market for us," de Schaun said. "As a destination, Galveston has a lot to offer for a pre- or post-cruise vacation, and we know the cruise lines see value in downtown Galveston’s shops, attractions and restaurants being steps away from the cruise terminal."
Historic downtown Galveston – which received severe flooding from Hurricane Ike – has been another center of growth for the island’s tourism industry. The district, home to one of the largest collections of Victorian architecture in the country, is a popular shopping destination and has opened a variety of new attractions since 2011, including the pirate museum, Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast, Haunted Mayfield Manor, and Jet Boat Thrill Rides on Pier 21. A new restaurant, Nonno Tony’s World Kitchen, is scheduled to open on Pier 21 in October.
About Galveston Island
Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country. For more information on Galveston Island visit www.galveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.