SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Families and out-of-town visitors are now staying longer during their visits to South Padre Island than before the start of the pandemic.

“We see that the reservations are on the increase we see that the people are coming from different places that before they didn’t visit us,” said Teresa Rodriguez, senior manager of communications and marketing at the South Padre Island Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “Just to name a few cities like Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, people from St. Louis Missouri.”

The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, a popular tourist destination, said that this is the most visitors that they have ever seen.

“I think the last year we’ve had the highest turn out we’ve ever had definitely especially through the summer,” said Javier Gonzalez, the naturalist educator at South Padre Island’s Birding and Nature Center.

Rodriguez added that the hotel occupancy tax for December 2021 was up higher than December 2019 pre-pandemic.

“The occupancy percentage was 44 percent and right now for December we have approximately 55 percent,” said Rodriguez.

Some of the tourism is fueled from Mexico, Rodriguez added.

“Since they opened the borders people have been coming here to spend their holidays,” said Rodriguez.

The reservations for the projected future also show that the trend will continue, according to Rodriguez.

Gonzalez agreed and said he believes more people resorted to outdoor activities during the pandemic.

“They were locked up at home, stressed, worried, and you know nature is always a really good solace to turn to,” said Gonzalez. “I think that’s what really drove people here.”