This week, Galveston received the first tastes of fall. Cooler temperatures and a northerly breeze were pleasant indicators that the holiday season is right around the corner.

Holiday time in Galveston means that the island is transformed into a Winter Wonder Island with events, activities and performances that embrace the spirit of the season.

In 2011, the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, and its many tourism partners, came together to change the holiday landscape from a selection of individual events to a winter destination featuring 50 days of holiday festivals and attractions. The goal was to increase tourism during what has been the slowest time of year for the industry. And that goal has been achieved. Over the last seven years, hotel occupancy has increased nearly 50 percent, and hotel revenues have increased more than 100 percent.

Thanks to our many Galveston partners, the momentum keeps going.

This year, the CVB and the Downtown Partnership will enhance the decorations in the downtown area. A replica of Ebenezer Scrooge’s and Jacob Marley’s office from the novel “A Christmas Carol” will be erected in Saengerfest Park serving as a photo opportunity, along with an interactive snow globe that was a popular draw last year.

They will also purchase garlands to hang across Strand Street. Mitchell Properties also plans to light its buildings and many others along Strand Street. The city of Galveston will again have a Christmas tree at 25th Street and Broadway.

CVB staff members working at the Galveston Visitors Center are also getting in on the fun. In November and December, their uniforms will consist of Victorian-era clothing. All of these investments are part of a long-term strategy to continue to give the island a festive makeover during the winter months.

The investments also aim to bolster already popular holiday attractions throughout the island including Moody Gardens Festival of Lights, Ice Land: Pole to Pole and other programming, plus holiday activities at Schlitterbahn, The Grand 1894 Opera House, The Hotel Galvez, the 45th annual Dickens on The Strand celebration and more.

“We’ve seen positive trends for visitation during the holiday over the past decade,” Kelly de Schaun, executive director of the Park Board, said. “Thanks to the enthusiastic cooperation from all of our partners, we’ll continue to make the holidays a great time of year to make memories on Galveston Island.”

For more information, visit www.galveston.com/holidaymagic.

Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St. in Galveston.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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