Galveston’s Recovery From Ike Now Drawing Crowds
The devastation of Hurricane Ike, which tore into the Texas coast four years ago, left some wondering how to rebuild. As a community, they have come together to answer that question.
In the years since Ike, Galveston and the other coastal communities affected by the storm have risen from the wreckage in a renaissance that continues to benefit residents and attract visitors from across the state and around the country.
As an example, this summer the Pleasure Pier on Galveston Island opened for business, a new destination center packed with rides, restaurants and entertainment, at the spot where the Flagship Hotel - destroyed by Ike - used to stand.
The historic downtown district, horrifically flooded by the hurricane's surge, has rebounded as well, with numerous new shops and attractions launched since 2011.
With a growing number of attractions, it was a huge summer for coastal tourism in general and for Galveston in particular. Four years after the costliest storm in Texas history, the city reported its best summer peak tourism season on record, with hotel occupancy up almost 7 percent over 2011.
That's a big part of the state's annual tourist boom, which last year saw an estimated 208 million domestic travelers visit Texas destinations for business and pleasure. Those visitors generated $63.2 billion in revenue, directly supporting 545,000 tourism jobs and an additional 479,000 jobs in related sectors.
The resurgence in Galveston and throughout the region is testimony to the natural beauty of our coasts, the vision of our entrepreneurs and the resilience of the Texas people.