GALVESTON, Texas — Galveston — one of the more popular tourist destinations along the Texas Gulf Coast — has seen a drop in visitors this summer, according to local officials and business owners.
Hotel bookings on the island city are down this season compared to last year, the Galveston County Daily News (http://bit.ly/2bS29Lc ) reported Monday.
“I can tell you this is one of the slowest years I can remember. Some years are slow due to weather, but this has been worse for a number of reasons,” said Jason Worthen, owner of Gulf Coast Water Sports, which rents Jet Skis.
Many of Galveston’s visitors travel from Houston and Louisiana, and Worthen said the floods there this year had an impact, as well as a June report of a man who became infected with rare, flesh-eating bacteria.
“It’s been a tough year between the bacteria and the flooding in Houston and Louisiana,” Worthen said.
Galveston’s hotel occupancy tax brought in $2.3 million in July — the latest month for which collections data are available and the immediate month after the bacterial scare — compared with $2.6 million for the same month in 2015.
Officials with The Spot, one of the more popular dining and drinking sites on the Galveston seawall, say their business is down 3 percent this year.
Kelly de Schaun, with the Galveston County Park Board of Trustees, said the decline in visitors to Galveston this summer could be more than a local phenomenon.
“This year has been a struggle for the whole coast,” de Schaun said. “I think it’s a regional issue, not just a coastal issue. You look around and you see that Houston’s visitor numbers are down, too. They had tremendous rains, and that affects people’s plans.”
Max Wilson, who owns John’s Beach Service of Texas, which rents beach umbrellas and chairs, said his business is down about one-third this summer season.
“I’ve been on the beach since the ’50s, and this is the worst season I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com