Galveston tourism to bounce back from pandemic in months, experts say

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

Video Transcript

NICK NATARIO: Tourism numbers might just be going up here on the Island. In about a month, cruises could restart. And more conventions coming to the Island. And because of this, tourism leaders say the Island should bounce back a lot faster than they expected. The Memorial Day crowds didn't disappoint today on Galveston Island.

- I wasn't expecting to see so many people. It's a crowd. So lots of people out here.

NICK NATARIO: With COVID-19 numbers declining, some people decided to head back to the beach.

- I haven't been down to the beach in five years. And honestly, I used to hate the beach. But I came here and I loved it.

NICK NATARIO: We actually extended our visit by one day. So we weren't supposed to be here today. So there you go.

- Starting to get out. See nobody with no mask on. So I think it's OK in a safe environment.

NICK NATARIO: An escape more people are willing to take. This spring break on the Island, hotels made more than they have in eight years during that two week period. Since then, the numbers haven't dropped.

- We've seen just a consistent level of traffic and visitation all the way through each weekend. It's been incredibly busy here on the Island.

NICK NATARIO: Tourism leaders say the improving health situation is allowing events and conventions to return. Carnival could soon welcome passengers too. Because of this, the island's recovery and helping people keep jobs is moving much faster than expected.

- We're really seeing a faster recovery than anticipated. And I think everyone nationwide had expected about a three year recovery ramp.

NICK NATARIO: A recovery felt this holiday weekend could just last through the summer.

- Feels great. A nice, sunny day,. It feels great. I'll come back. Returning, I'm going to make at least a couple more visits before the summer is over.

NICK NATARIO: Extra visits that should help the Island bounce back from the pandemic in months rather than years. Nick Natario, ABC 13 Eyewitness News.