Galveston Island enjoying tourism boost

GALVESTON, TX To say Galveston is a cool oasis in the midst of the heat is possibly overstating it a bit, but the water remains a respite for visitors.

We met up with some children enjoying their first visit to the coast. Their moms brought them from Fort Worth to experience the beach.

"I left my husband at home for this trip, and he's missing out," said visitor Kimberly Porfil.

Galveston is said to be doing very well this year. From last September through last month, the number of visitors is said to be up 15 percent.

Schlitterbahn says its attendance is up this year as well, because it's a family-oriented theme park that has added yet another water pool attraction. For families on a budget, there are advantages.

"We don't charge for parking, tubes and life jackets are free," said Schlitterbahn spokesperson Melissa Wright. "Also, we allow guests to bring in their own foods and drinks, which helps. You know, every penny counts."

Luxury hotels are doing well, too. The Galvez reported full occupancy on Sunday.

The seawall has plenty of cars, even on a Wednesday afternoon. Some often-quoted theories for the increased tourism are the economy, still-high gas prices and staycations.

"I think it's a combination of things," said Christine Hopkins with the Tremont House. "People may be traveling closer to home. But as everyone knows, Galveston does have a wealth of attractions to entertain people during a short visit or an extended stay."

The trend is expected to continue through the July 4th holiday weekend. And be sure to bring your sunblock, because you will need it!

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