By KEVIN RICH
Special to the PRESS
South Padre Island Mayor Dennis Stahl was the featured speaker at and event hosted by the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce Thursday, Jan. 10. Part of an ongoing guest speaker series called “Coffee and Conversation,” Stahl’s spoke of making the Island a cruise ship port of call in order to promote economic development.
Noting that there hasn’t been a new cruise ship port built since 1969, Stahl posed the question of the Island becoming the newest one. “Could we become the next port of call?” Stahl said.
He reported the Island could see an estimated $20 million economic impact from one ship visiting the area per week. Not only would it provide economic stability to the Island, but it would lessen the effect of the seasonality that businesses currently experience, Stahl said.
“Tourism drives this Island,” Stahl said. He cited statistics indicating that by the year 2020, the Island will host 5.5 million visitors annually, with the figure increasing to 6 million by 2025.
Real estate could also be one of the areas to benefit as new visitors could later become potential investors, Stahl said.
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