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Port Aransas tourism is booming despite the pandemic

With ferry lines backed up and cars bumper to bumper, Port Aransas officials said they've seen a surge in tourism the moment Texas reopened.

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — With lifted safety restrictions in Texas -- more and more people are hitting the beach and local hot spots are getting a little hotter this year.

Pam Knudsen works hand in hand with Airbnb at the local level. She said Port Aransas is one of the local areas seeing a high volume in reservations. She said not only are more tourists coming to Port Aransas, but they're also staying a little longer.

"They're realizing they can work from home and home can be just about anywhere so we're also seeing people saying 'oh well,' I can also go there for three weeks because I can still work while I'm someplace else," Knudsen said. 

Keith McMullin is the interim CEO of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce Tourism Bureau; he said floods of tourism swept into Port Aransas when the state reopened.

"When Governor Abbott opened the state up after the stay-at-home orders, starting on Saturday, May 2, we have been very crowded much more so than usual," McMullin said. "Airbnb said last week we were the top three destinations in the country. Not in Texas, in the entire United States."

With filled beaches and restaurants, officials said people in their community are very concerned about the number of tourists that are coming to town and potentially bringing the coronavirus with them. McMullin said he has a message for anyone visiting Port Aransas.

"Be respectful and remember to obey all of the laws that they would obey back home and socially distance and wear a mask when possible," McMullin said. 

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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