Special Report: A look into the economic impact from Hurricane H - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Special Report: A look into the economic impact from Hurricane Harvey

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It's now been more than 2 months now since Harvey ripped through the Coastal Bend and the Houston area.

To this day, a lot of businesses are closed and some people still don't have homes and this affects all of us, considering - all that loss - affects the overall economy. 
Dr. Jim Lee, Economist with TAMUCC said "Based on most estimates, it's going to be about $100 billion."

The second most costly storm in U.S history, Hurricane Harvey falls just behind Hurricane Katrina in economic impact.
Locally, that damage continues to be seen and felt every day. 
Dr. Lee added, "I tally up all the numbers and all the sales of those impacted areas in Aransas County, in Refugio County and Port Aransas and we're talking about $1.6 billion in sales for one year."

Tourism-based communities like Port Aransas and Rockport, the damage and debris that remain serve as a reminder of the long road ahead... 
Jeffrey Hentz, President and CEO of the Port Aransas Tourism Bureau said "Well since Harvey hit Port A on August 25th, our economy has virtually been shut down."

Port Aransas has a population of just more than 4,000 and brings in about $500 million dollars annually. But Hurricane Harvey has changed that.
Hentz said, "We're now just past ten weeks and we're barely about 10-15 percent open. From a business perspective, that's horrible news."

Port Aransas officials and community leaders hope to repair the damage. They've created a post-Harvey economic recovery committee to bring back their tourism economy to what it once was, if not better. 
And that sentiment is shared. Mayor C.J. Wax of Rockport says his city also has a long road ahead.

Mayor Wax said, "But that's not going to happen overnight. As I said this is going to be 3-5 years out before we even begin to get back to what I would consider normalcy."

Rockport is also heavily reliant on tourism. The town lost two of it's major attractions, another two are closed indefinitely and most hotels are also closed. 
But Mayor Wax says the community of Rockport is steadily making progress. "And almost every day either a house gets finished, a new roof gets done or a new restaurant opens up or a new business reopens and it gets a little bit better every day. It's been two months, two months and a week, since the storm hit and we're significantly better off."
Both Rockport and Port Aransas have already launched campaigns geared towards attracting tourism. Mayor Wax says he's already seeing winter Texans occupy R.V. parks.

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