Texas-based Leisure Travel Alliance (LTA) has informed its 200 travel agency members that it plans to hold its November 13-16 annual conference in Galveston, TX as scheduled. Damage from Hurricane Ike to the Galveston Hilton and San Luis resort complex appears to be relatively minor according to LTA executive vice president, John Shands.
“We have been in contact with city management, Hilton management and the Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau," said Shands. "They are all confident that essential services will be restored and that most Galveston hotels will be ready to receive visitors by mid-November."
Shands also points out that the U.S. travel industry has a long-standing tradition of supporting tourist destinations in times of need. “We hope to make a bit of a contribution to Galveston’s recovery.”
LTA’s president, Stuart Godwin, has both a personal and commercial interest in a fast recovery for Galveston. Godwin has family ties to Galveston; his grandfather was a survivor of the Great Storm of 1900. Godwin points out that the presence of Carnival and Royal Caribbean in Galveston is essential to the island’s recovery and to the interests of all travel agents in Texas and surrounding states.
“We have had preliminary conversations with both Carnival and RCI," Godwin said. "Carnival has temporarily redeployed to Bayport (Houston) and hopes to redeploy the Conquest and Ecstasy to Galveston in a few weeks. Royal Caribbean plans to deploy the Voyager of the Seas to Galveston in December as previously scheduled. One way for the travel agency community to contribute to Galveston’s recovery and their own interests is to support cruise line sailings from the Port of Galveston.”
Godwin points out that, while there is substantial storm damage to portions of Galveston’s central business and residential districts on the east end of the island, much of the most sensational film footage is of low lying residential areas on the west end of the island and adjacent areas on the mainland. Leisure Travel Alliance, Inc. is a travel agency marketing organization based in Austin.