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Gulf Coast braces for busy tourism season with a short supply of rentals

Gulf State Park beach


Alabama’s gulf coast won’t be welcoming as many students this year.

Many universities across Alabama have forgone traditional spring breaks. Instead, some universities are offering students a mental health day. Others are ending the spring semester early instead.

That eliminates an important demographic of student visitors to the gulf coast during its spring break season.

Kay Maghan, the public relations manager for Gulf Coast & Orange Beach Tourism, said that universities canceling spring break has freed up limited availability for families.

“In some ways, it's maybe almost a blessing right now that the universities have changed their scheduling because we still have about 30 to 40 percent of our vacation rental properties out of inventory because of damage from hurricane Sally.”

But even with a significant portion of rental properties in the region out of commission, Meghan said that she is expecting a busy season and that hotel and rental occupancy is relatively close to pre-pandemic levels.

“We are optimistic that as more vaccines are happening and people are getting more comfortable with the idea of traveling, that we are anticipating a really good year. There is a lot of pent-up demand of people wanting to get out of their house.

Meghan said that the majority of the damaged vacation rentals will be up and running by Summer.

Connor Todd is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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