Large numbers of tourists expected for WWII ship

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:23 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - It might be a little more crowded this weekend in Hannibal. Today, the USS LST-325 will offer tours of the massive ship and tourism officials expect a big crowd.

A Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau Associate Carl Brown said they’ve received calls and messages from around the tri-state from people inquiring about when the ship will arrive. He said the farthest message they received came from Ohio. He said they expect anywhere from 17,000 to potentially 25,000 visitors. He says with the influx in people the area will feel an economic impact.

“Every time one person or family comes into town and if they’re into the fact that Hannibal’s a laid back two day visit. Well, gosh, gasoline, food, lodging for at least one night, you’re down looking in the shops for trinkets and things folks buy when they’re out away from town on a tourist trip,” Brown said.

He said with the WW2 ship attracts crowds because the history and size behind it as it carried supplies, soldiers and tanks during D-Day.

The boom for business has one business getting ready.

Mandy Gray, a server for Becky Thatcher’s Diner said they’ve been preparing how they usually prepare: stocking up on supplies. She said they anticipate a large influx of customers, as something major like the ship has a lot of people excited.

“I think a lot of our tourism is gonna be veterans this year this time. Because of the fact you gotta a battleship coming in from World War II. I mean how many veterans wouldn’t want to see that. I want to see it. I had a grandpa in World War II. So it would be nice to have a lot of people that have served be able to see that and everything,” Gray said.

She said due their small diner they expect lines nearly out the door similar to previous events. She said they’ve heard a lot of excitement from people in the community about the ship and expect many people to pass through to see the ship and stop by their diner.

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