Galveston's popularity as a meeting and tourism destination stems in part from its accessible location. Just 50 miles southeast of Houston, Galveston visitors can easily take advantage of the Houston area's two major airports, the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the William P. Hobby Airport. The former offers non-stop or direct flights to over 175 domestic and international destinations, while the latter runs non-stop service to more than 30 U.S. destinations on five passenger airlines, including the affordable and popular Southwest. Its location near major thoroughfares, including I-45, makes driving to Galveston a hassle-free option for guests traveling from other major destinations in Texas.
Upon arrival, Galveston welcomes travelers with over 5,000 hotel rooms that can meet every budget and preference, from quaint seaside B&Bs to deluxe luxury resorts. Find over 119 elegant guest rooms at The Tremont House, a historic piece of Victorian architecture in the heart of Galveston's Strand District. Here, 19th century charm meets 20th century amenities, including the serene Rooftop Terrace from which guests can watch the sun set over Galveston's port. Or visit the recently renovated Hotel Galvez, built in 1911, whose 224 rooms have welcomed such elite clientele as Teddy Roosevelt, Howard Hughes and Frank Sinatra.
Hotels in Galveston provide not just a venue to rest and relax, but also a space to get down to business. Several of the city's properties boast spacious and well-equipped meeting space. Meanwhile, in addition to its lavish accommodations and world-class spa, The San Luis Resort can really get down to business. Its 40,000-square-foot conference center is a fully accredited IACC meeting facility, offering 22 rooms and a full-service business center.
Also on the grounds of The San Luis Resort is one of Texas' most popular convention facilities, the Galveston Island Convention Center. With a beachfront setting and spectacular views of the Gulf, the convention center is ideal for exhibits, association meetings, banquets and more. Its two levels encompass 43,100 square feet of exhibit space, 12,000 square feet of meeting space and a 15,500-square-foot ballroom. The 140,000-square-foot center's facilities are matched by world-class amenities, which include complimentary shuttle service to and from contracted hotels, complimentary on-site parking and wireless Internet access.
When it comes to unique venues for post-convention galas or dinners, Galveston does not disappoint. Host an event in true Texas fashion at one of the city's many historic homes and mansions, such as the 1859 Ashton Villa, 1838 Michel B. Bernard Home or 1861 Custom House. Let meetings take flight at the Lone Star Flight Museum, which offers a backdrop of more than 30 restored aircraft for events of up to 1,500 guests. Or treat guests to an evening of dinner and dancing on the water, aboard the paddlewheel. Companies such as Baywatch Harbor Tours and Galveston Harbor Tours offer private charter options for team building excursions and company parties.
The shipping, finance, health care and tourism industries make up the backbone of Galveston's economy. The city is home to the headquarters of American National Insurance Company, one of the largest life insurance companies in the country, and also serves as the home port to two Carnival Cruise Lines ships and to Royal Caribbean International's Mariner of the Seas. Galveston also boasts one of the largest teaching hospitals in the state, found at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.