East Texas Businesses Feeling Impact Of Wilma - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/26/05 - Lufkin

East Texas Businesses Feeling Impact Of Wilma

by Larry Little

Folks in Florida are still recovering from hurricane Wilma, but the impact of the storm is also being felt here in East Texas.

Nancy Mize has been a travel agent in Lufkin for more than 12 years. She cringed when she heard about hurricane Wilma heading for a favorite travel destination of folks in East Texas.

Lufkin is miles away from Florida and Mexico, but local travel agencies are feeling the impact of the storm. Folks in the travel industry say a busy hurricane season has made their job a little challenging.

"I think Katrina and Rita hurt anybody in this business. Travel is a place where you put your extra money and, right now, people are more concerned with putting gas in their tank," says Mize.

Though hurricane Wilma didn't cause the agency to cancel any cruises, it's still unclear when they will be able to book the popular Mexico cruise again. Nancy says she's sure of one thing:

"I hope this is it for a while. This is the longest hurricane season I can remember. Rarely do you get four that hit in the same area. It really has effected our cruise industry and our resort industry."

Nancy believes this is only a temporary setback for the Holiday Travel Agency and tourism towns in Florida and Mexico. She knows there are also plenty of other places for East Texans to go.

"Ski season is just around [the corner], so people... If I had any advice I would say look to Hawaii or Europe. They're going to be good bargains this year."

Some travel agents in East Texas are allowing customers who bought trips to affected areas to reschedule and head to other cruise destinations instead.

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