Galveston tourism to bounce back from pandemic in months, not years, experts say

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One of the Houston area's biggest tourist destinations believes the pandemic bounce back might happen in months rather than years.

Tourism leaders in Galveston said as COVID-19 cases continue to decline, the improving health situation is allowing events and conventions to return.

The Memorial Day crowds didn't disappoint on the island and during this past Spring Break, hotels made more money than they have in eight years during that two-week period. Since then, the number of visitors hasn't dropped.

"We've seen just a consistent level of traffic in visitation," said Galveston Island's Chief Tourism Officer Michael Woody. "All the way through, each weekend has been incredibly busy on the island."

Plus, the Carnival cruise line could welcome passengers as early as July.

READ MORE: Galveston leaders approve plans for resuming cruise ship service to island

With all those factors combined, the island's recovery, along with helping people keep jobs, is moving much faster than expected.

"We're really seeing a faster recovery than anticipated," Woody explained. "I think everyone nationwide had an expectation of a three-year recovery ramp."

That recovery was felt this holiday weekend and it could last through the summer.

"I wasn't expecting to see so many people," said tourist Adrian William. "It's a crowd. There are lots of people out. It feels great. It's a nice sunny day. I'll come back [and] make at least a couple more visits before the summer is over."

And William wasn't the only one planning more than one visit.

"We actually extended our visit by one day," said tourist Kyle Jorgensen. "We weren't supposed to be here [Monday,] so, there you go."

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