Tourism drop means Harvey still punishing Texas beach towns

In this Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 photo, a wedding is held on the beach in Port Aransas, Texas. Hurricane Harvey dealt a body blow to the beach town and wiped out the end of the lucrative summer season. Tourists are expected to stay away through the holidays, and even the possibility of getting back to business by spring break looks bleak. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, an excavator is used to move a mountain of debris created in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Port Aransas, Texas. The storm damaged or destroyed 80 percent of local homes and businesses and arrived just before Labor Day, wiping out the lucrative summer season's final weeks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 photo, owner Sally Marco, right, greets a customer is at her shop, Gratitude, in Port Aransas, Texas. "You almost feel guilty opening because there are a lot of stores and places that can't," Marco said. "But it's nice to have people smile when they come in." (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, an excavator is used to move a mountain of debris created in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Port Aransas, Texas. The storm damaged or destroyed about 80 percent of local homes and businesses and arrived just before Labor Day, wiping out the lucrative summer season's final weeks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, a partially submerged boat rest in the Port Aransas Marina as workers make repairs to a root in Port Aransas, Texas. Tourists are expected to stay away through the holidays, and even the possibility of getting back to business by spring break looks bleak. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, a crew works clear debris from the Island Cafe that was damaged by Hurricane Harvey, in Port Aransas, Texas. Tourists are expected to stay away through the holidays, and even the possibility of getting back to business by Spring Break looks bleak. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, a cyclist passes a weathered sign along the beach in Port Aransas, Texas. Hurricane Harvey dealt a body blow to the beach town and wiped out the end of the lucrative summer season. Tourists are expected to stay away through the holidays, and even the possibility of getting back to business by spring break looks bleak. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, A fishing boat is readied at sunrise at Deep Sea Headquarters, in Port Aransas, Texas. The company is working to rebuild their business after their headquarters were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, James Wheeler Jr., right, works to help rebuild his fishing business, Deep Sea Headquarters, in Port Aransas, Texas. Wheeler would normally be leading deep-sea fishing excursions, has been pressed into service as an amateur builder working to rebuild what was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, workers make repairs to a cell tower, in Port Aransas, Texas. The tower was damaged during Hurricane Harvey. Tourists are expected to stay away through the holidays, and even the possibility of getting back to business by spring break looks bleak. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, workers help rebuild the Deep Sea Headquarters, in Port Aransas, Texas. Boat captains and guides have been pressed into service as carpenters to rebuild what was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 photo, Owner Sally Marco is reflected in a mirror at her shop, Gratitude, as she talks with a customer, in Port Aransas, Texas. "You almost feel guilty opening because there are a lot of stores and places that can't," Marco said. "But it's nice to have people smile when they come in." (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, a kite surfer glides along the coast as an oil tanker passes in the background, in Port Aransas, Texas. Hurricane Harvey dealt a body blow to the beach town and wiped out the end of the lucrative summer season. Tourists are expected to stay away through the holidays, and even the possibility of getting back to business by spring break looks bleak. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 photo, Olya Soya works to clear debris from the beach shop, Destinations, in Port Aransas, Texas. The storm damaged or destroyed 80 percent of local homes and businesses and arrived just before Labor Day, wiping out the lucrative summer season's final weeks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Hurricane Harvey caused extensive damage to Port Aransas and Texas Gulf Coast beach towns like it.

But that may be only the beginning of the economic pain.

The storm arrived just before Labor Day, wiping out the lucrative summer season's final weeks.

Tourists may stay away during the usually busy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. Even the possibility of getting back to business by spring break looks bleak.

The owners of bars and eateries, inns and T-shirt shops are facing a paradox. Tourists likely won't return until the rebuild is in full swing, but picking up the pieces post-Harvey may not truly begin without tourism profits.

The head of the Texas Travel Industry Association says recovery will come "but it will never be fast enough for these folks."

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