By all accounts, the tourism-on-the-island season appears to be potentially ‘off the chain’ already.
If you happened to be one of the thousands of cars that found themselves nearly gridlocked on the seawall over the weekend, you’ve got to wonder what is in store when the summer season gets rolling. Locals knew by Saturday morning their best plan was to remain hunkered down close to home.
Granted there was a ‘blue water effect’ — our friends up in Houston media telling everyone in the fourth-largest city in the nation they needed to rush to the coast to witness the somewhat rare occurrence. And Mother Nature did a us a solid favor by keeping skies clear and temperatures in the mid-70’s.
All in all, a good few days to be at the beach.
Some may point to festivals as the cause, but there are always festivals in the area. The wave of cars was beyond what a few thousand pots of boiled crawfish could draw in. No, something is in the — pardon the pun — water.
Kelly de Schaun, executive director of the Galveston Park Board of Trustees, said social media marketing through the island’s Convention & Visitors Bureau helped prime the pump for the weekend.
Late Friday, the bureau sent out a tweet noting the blueish hues of the water. That got noticed by television stations and turned into small, but potentially impactful, news stories.
The summer tourist season unofficially starts on Memorial Day, but de Schaun said the island’s strong spring season is a good omen.
“Our numbers for the month of April are very strong and a good indicator of what’s to come this summer,” she said.
If you find yourself on the island, be careful and considerate of others. More visitors traveling to the island means more cars on the roads. More cars on the road mean more people. And more people means, well, more people. You get the idea.
Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. When the island pops, so does the county. Getting people to visit our area — from NASA to catching a few rays while snoozing in the sand — is a good thing. Rising tides lift all boats — and that includes local businesses.
Here is to what could be a remarkable year.
• Leonard Woolsey