Four Years After Ike, Galveston's Tourism Industry Makes Better-Than-Full Recovery

Four years ago today, Hurricane Ike made a direct hit on Galveston. The island is still struggling to recover in some areas — like public housing. But Galveston's tourism industry is back in better shape than before the storm.

The summer before Hurricane Ike, Galveston raked in $7.5 million dollars in hotel tax revenue from June through August. It took three years to get back to that level. And this year, hotel tax receipts shot up dramatically, to $8.3 million.

"This past summer was the best year we've ever had on the island, so we're doing really well and excited about that."

Leah Cast is with the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says while Ike created a lot of damage, it also created a lot of opportunity.

"Because we saw a lot of projects being renovated, such as the pyramid at Moody Gardens, and, of course, this new Pleasure Pier. So when you have all these new things coming up, and the things that weren't there before the hurricane, it's really safe to say that that recovery aspect is complete."

Cast says the continuing trend of people vacationing closer to home also helped the tourism industry's bottom line. She says Galveston hopes to sustain that momentum in summers to come with new developments in the works on both ends of the beach, and with several new restaurants set to open in the next several months.

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David Pitman

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