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Irene's Impact On Tourism On Labor Day

Traditionally on Labor day weekend, tourist will head to the beach for the last unofficial end of summer. But with Hurricane Irene's destruction still heavy on the hearts and minds of many, some who depend on tourists for their livelihood were worried about what the weekend would bring.

The Crystal Coast Tourism Authority says many hotels were booked this weekend, but says the number of visitors was down 10% to 20% from last year because of the hurricane.

Some hotels, like the Sheraton on Atlantic Beach, are still closed for repairs, causing problems for nearby businesses like Tony's Surf Shop. Owners there say sales are down 30 percent from last year.

"It's very tough," says Tony Malouf, the owner of Town's Surf Shop.
"I mean if we don't make it now, we'll never make it. So it's very crucial, this weekend to give us some good amount of money to hold on for the winter. "

But even with the closed hotel, some beach, erosion and a badly damaged pier, many people were out enjoying the unofficial last day of summer - saying the damage doesn't affect how beautiful the ocean is.


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