Galveston is a charming Southern retreat just 50 miles from Houston. It’s a destination full of art, historic architecture, chic boutiques, ghost legends and more – all tucked within a quaint Gulf Coast barrier island.
The tourism sector in Galveston continues growing with more than 7 million visitors in the past year. Growth indicators benefit through a number of factors including historic investments in the re-nourishment of Galveston beaches, continued expansion/diversification in the number of amenities and attractions located on Galveston Island, and the fourth busiest cruise port in North America, supplement the existing hospitality and tourism industry of Galveston.
There are more than 80 year-round festivals, special events, sporting events and attractions such as; Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn, Pleasure Pier, The Bryan Museum, Mardi Gras, Lone Star Rally, Iron Man Triathlon, and many more that keep visitors and residents entertained while in Galveston. The island is also home to more than 6,000 hotel rooms, and two convention centers with more than 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. Galveston has truly become a destination for industry trade shows, conventions, fundraising galas, and weddings.
Employment growth in Galveston’s tourism industry is outpacing overall job growth on Galveston Island. Since 2009, tourism job growth amounts to 23.3%, compared to 11.8% of total employment on the island. Direct GDP (gross domestic product) attributable to tourism spending in Galveston Island totaled $345 million in calendar year (CY) 2019.
- Visits. The number of visits to Galveston Island increased from 7.2 million visits in 2018 to 7.3 million visits in 2019, resulting in an annualized growth rate of 3.5%.
- Port of Galveston. The Port of Galveston is ranked as the fourth largest home port in the U.S. based on embarkations. Cruise passengers increased 9.9% in 2019. At 1.1 million, embarkations are 76% higher than the 2006 peak of 617,000. Cruise activity generated $71.5 million in passenger onshore spending