Winter Texans enjoy Rockport after Harvey - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Winter Texans enjoy Rockport after Harvey

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It's the time of the year where many people from up North move to South Texas. They're otherwise known as 'Winter Texans.' Rockport, one of the towns where many spend their winter months, say Hurricane Harvey impacted their number of visitors.

The Chamber of Commerce says there aren't as many from up north as previous years. There are usually around five-to-eight thousand visitors each year. So far this year, there are roughly two-to-three thousand.

But Hurricane Harvey hasn't stopped everyone from making South Texas their home during the winter months. Since 2008, the Hamilton's have been spending each winter in the Coastal Bend.

"Knowing sort of the spirit of the people in this area, you knew it could come back," David Hamilton said. "It's just going to take time."

His wife, Nichol Hamilton, shared the same thought.

"I don't know that I was worried at all," Nichol Hamilton said. "I knew that a lot of the buildings were gone, but I knew that a lot of the places were still here."

This year, most winter Texans are staying in RV Parks. In previous years, they would also stay at hotels and condos, but many are still damaged from the hurricane. Thankfully, there are nearly 45 RV parks in Rockport, and almost all of them were quick to re-open.

Al Mulford, the owner of Taylor Oaks RV Park, was surprised with the number of phone calls they received when his family got back to town after the hurricane.

"The phone rang, when the phones worked, the phone rang. 'What? You want to come back here? Ok, we'll have you back.' And that gave us the drive to keep going. If they want to come back, I want to give them a place to stay."

Many of the RV Park owners reserved spots for the loyal winter Texans that wanted to come back. Diane Probst, The Chamber of Commerce President, says that their stay is especially important this year, after Harvey.

"We're trying to re-build the economy back," Probst said. "And just that one visitor coming in helps rejuvenate the economy."

The Commerce says that the peak season for winter Texans is late-January to March. The number of winter visitors could rise in the upcoming weeks.

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