Tourism and Islanders’ Quality of Life

Tourism is an important economic driver on Galveston Island.

Economic impact studies published by Tourism Economics (an Oxford Economics Company) report that Galveston generated $136 million in tax revenues, with $63.6 million accruing to state and local governments. Local taxes helped offset the average household tax burden by $3,116 per household. Tourism generated revenues, exclusive of the Hotel Occupancy tax, but inclusive of sales and property taxes, generated $22.6 million alone for local governments in 2013 — enough to fund 52.6 percent of the general fund of the city.

But for some of us, it’s not about the money, but rather the quality of life. And for islanders, quality of life is a driving motivation. As islanders, we pride ourselves on an alternative lifestyle, a slower pace with lots of opportunities to share with friends and family. Coastal Living’s March 2013 issue featured Galveston as a “Dream Town.”

Galveston draws friends and family to island residents because of its unique attractiveness and vast array of events, restaurants, cultural and nature based activities and balmy weather. Without a doubt, every islander has a guest room to accommodate the steady stream of visitors.

Due in no small part to the almost 6,000,000 visitors that are drawn to our small island paradise each year, there are a plethora of tourism related businesses that make the quality of life for locals such a blessing.

We have amazing food! Great local restaurants and several famed restaurateurs. While you may have to wait to be seated some weekends during the season, not many towns of less than 50,000 boast the array and quality of restaurants. Open Table named Rudy and Paco’s one of the “Top 100 Best Restaurants in America” 2013. Don Clark, the owner of Miller’s on the Seawall, recently won the desert category in the General Foods National Competition with his signature brownie! Word on the street is that his Peach Cobbler also would have won if it was entered!

Front row seats for great events from the Grand or Etc. Community events such as Dickens, Mardi Gras, Lonestar Rally, Featherfest and Beach Revue. Let’s not forget Artober Fest, all the Yaga Events, Garden Tour Chicken Strut, our Homes Tours and the Grand Kids Fest, music events, summer outdoor movies and so many others. What local hasn’t watched the summer fireworks raining over Moody Gardens and not appreciated it as a perk of island life?

Beaches. Galveston Island State Park was listed second on “Best Gulf Coast Beaches” list by the Travel Channel in 2013. Stewart Beach was on the “Ten Best Beaches for Families” by Family Vacation Critic. Tourism dollars generated from overnight stays and park visits help pay to maintain Galveston beaches “clean, green and pristine” reputation. Taxes also support the invaluable efforts of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol.

Undoubtedly it is challenging to live in a place where everyone wants to vacation, lines at the grocery are long during the season, the 15 minute commute turns into a 25 minute commute during peak holidays and lines at our favorite restaurants, but just think about it, you live where everyone wants to vacation! Another reason why those of us lucky enough to live by the sea are lucky enough!

As seen in the Galveston Daily News – Galveston Island, Texas

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