GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Over the next two weeks, Galveston's increased nightly fares won't stop the expected 300,000 tourists for Spring Break.
"It's not too, too far. It's about a 3.5-hour drive for us," tourist Tony DeMaria explained. "There's just a lot to do here."
"The food, and the atmosphere, and it's close," tourist Nicholas Boldrey said. "It's probably the best gulf area here other than Corpus, and Corpus is a longer drive."
After the pandemic hit, tourist numbers plummeted. Officials worried it would take years to recover.
New numbers show that's not the case. Last summer season, hotel occupancy numbers rose and even surpassed pre-pandemic figures.
Tourists are back, but the island is still working on conferences and meetings that help during the off-season. Numbers are down this year compared to two years ago, but they're climbing, and Galveston's chief tourism officer, Michael Woody, believes that signals a strong 2022.
"That's what we're anticipating," Woody said. "We've been really fortunate during the pandemic to have a lot of people come and experience the island."
More people also means higher prices. Last spring break, the average hotel cost was $85. This spring break, it's $114 a night.
Short-term rental costs are up too. Last year, it was $215 a night. This spring break, it's $254.
"We actually paid more for a hotel, for less of a hotel than what we got," Boldrey explained. "Usually, we stay in a nicer hotel. We had to drop down in our hotel to get within our budget."
"What's also caused that is a lot of investment from our hotels to really lift the product," Woody said. "To add amenities, to add more services that are important to the hotel guests."
Some families are willing to pay a higher price to get away from their normal sounds and enjoy what the gulf offers.