Summer heat hasn’t slowed local tourism

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, July 12, 2023

After several closures and cautions following the start of the pandemic, tourism is bouncing back this summer. But in Port Arthur, that means adding even more to something that never truly stopped to begin with.

“During the pandemic, everyone was affected,” said Tammy Kotzur, executive director of the Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We were probably a little less affected because we do have so many outdoor recreations. People were fishing; people were birding.”

Fishing is one of the largest draws to Southeast Texas. But birding in Port Arthur also saw a popular spring migration.

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“Birding is year-round, but we have two peak times — spring migration and fall migration.”

In addition, she added, a multitude of people took advantage of Sea Rim State Park and McFaddin Beach during the July 4 holiday.

Eric Goocher is pictured with a trout he recently caught while out with Right Tide Fishing Company. (Courtesy photo)

And all, Kotzur said, has created high hotel occupancy.

“A lot of it is the attractions,” she said. “We do have a lot of great outdoor attractions. We attract a lot of anglers, and we do have a lot of birders.”

Kotzur said Gulf Coast Soccer will host large tournaments this year, which will also help fill hotels. And in the fall, the American Cue Sports pool tournament will return to the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.

Another large draw to the area has come from rescheduled reunions — family reunions, class reunions and other groups that weren’t able to meet during the pandemic.

“A lot of big groups weren’t meeting last year,” Kotzur said. “People were traveling, but not as much. Between family reunions and class reunions, it’s just non-stop, which is a good thing. People want to interact. People want to see their friends.”

Right Tide Fishing Company in Sabine Pass will be running through mid-October, and said last year they averaged 100 fish days during the fall. For more information or to book a fishing trip, call 469-531-7512.

Port Arthur angling on the Discovery Channel

On July 22 from 1-4 p.m., the Discovery Channel will film the Elite Fishing Series Weigh-In at the Civic Center. Teams, clubs and groups are encouraged to join. There will be a food truck, live music and more.

“We are excited to feature the great fishing community of Port Arthur, Texas again in 2023 as part of our very exclusive Elite fishing shows on the Discovery Channel,” said Pat Malone, host and producer of the Elite Fishing series. “Championship Saturday’s final weigh in of professional anglers hits the stage to see who will take home the top cash prize of $10,000 and the title of Elite Fishing Solo Tour Champion.

Email for an opportunity to participate.