Thursday AM October 9th, 2008

The Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes the image of Galveston, generates tourism, solicits meeting and convention business and coordinates the marketing and advertising efforts for the entire island. It helped attract more than $12 million in economic impact for the tourism industry last year. The Galveston Island Convention Center at The San Luis Resort on Galveston's Seawall came through the storm relatively unscathed, according to the bureau's Meg Winchester.

image of seawall before hurricane Ike "Since this was more of a surge-driven storm instead of a wind storm, that helped quite a bit. But our wonderful seawall is what protected the properties right off the seawall. We're very-well protected by the seawall in the storm and the waves coming in. We were so fortunate with the convention center. We had very little damage. There was a little water damage into the center, which has been pretty remdiated already. But the center's in great shape. In fact, we did out first event last Saturday night at the convention center."

For the center, it was a matter of waiting for power and utility restoration, as well as for hotels and restaurants getting back into business. Winchester says a lot of organizers who had events canceled because of the hurricane are happy to reschedule in Galveston, as a way of helping the city recover.

"They sure are. We've had some wonderful partnerships with a lot of our conventioneers and planners of these conventions and meetings. Most of them have wanted to continue, if possible, with their conventions, and a lot of them have actually held their dates, October forward, and some have rescheduled, quite a bit, as much as they could. Some of them are business decisions, clearly, based on times and things like that. But if they weren't able to rebook this year, most of them are looking at coming back with us next year."

The two-story, 140,000-square-foot, Galveston Convention Center has a beachfront setting with views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.


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