Posted: Oct 15, 2012 5:44 PM by Mia Gordon - email@example.com
Updated: Oct 15, 2012 6:54 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - A meeting was held today to see if Coastal Bend residents would support bringing cruise ships to the area.
The possibility of the cruise ship industry coming to this part of the state has been building momentum for the past couple of years. The areas around the Coastal Bend the state is looking to bring a port include Port Lavaca South to Brownsville.
In early 2010 State Representative Todd Hunter began holding a series of town hall meetings to get input on the possibility of bringing the cruise ship industry to the area.
Then in June 2011 Governor Rick Perry signed the Cruise Industry Bill into law. It created a statewide committee that would work on bringing cruise ships to the South Texas Coast.
This morning, representatives from all across South Texas met to discuss one thing, how they felt about the idea of a cruise ship coming to the Coastal Bend, and everyone seemed to be on the same page.
In fact when Nueces County Commissioner Joe McComb took a seat, he said, "Do we want it? I think the answer is yes."
Hunter added, "it was great to see an issue that brings everyone together. No negative. It was basically the message, how can we get this thing started."
And with the community on board with the idea, Hunter says the next step is putting together a study to present to the cruise lines to show them why coming to the Coastal Bend is a benefit.
Hunter says, "The big thing is we just need to show the cruise industry, the travel industry, that we want it. That we care. That we are interested. And, as one of the witnesses said, be persistent."
By bringing cruise ships to the South Texas waters, state representatives say it will actually help local business in the community.
Hunter says, "It brings travel tourism, entertainment groups. It can help restaurants. It can help hotels. It can help real estate. And it can help commercial and residential building."
State Senator Juan Chuy Hinojosa couldn't agree more, "This would boost our economy to the point that we would have probably over a billion direct spending, plus additional jobs being created."
Local residents also see the benefits. Just ask Hilda Lamas, a local signer, who can't wait to see cruise ships docking in the Coastal Bend.
Lamas says, "You are going to be getting all this revenue from people that are getting off the ship to look at the area. The different venues, the restaurants. And a lot of restaurants have entertainment here."
Now it's up to a State Legislative Committee to put together the study, and hopefully cruise ships will be cruising into South Texas soon.
The Cruise Ship Committee has until next year to put together a plan to present to different cruise lines.
More hearings will be held throughout the counties that may see a port, but those dates haven't been set yet.
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