RICHMOND, Va. -- Although more than half a million people in Maryland and Virginia still had no power eight days after Hurricane Isabel slammed through the mid-Atlantic region, the tourism end of things brightened considerably sooner.

Virginia's damage "was downed trees -- hundreds of them -- some flooding, beach erosion and power outages," said Diane Bechamps, vice president of marketing for Virginia Tourism Corp., based here.

The state's major attractions, theme parks, battlegrounds, national parks and hotels are open for business, Bechamps said.

Colonial Williamsburg's historic 18th century buildings had little damage; kerosene lanterns and oil lamps provided "very authentic lighting for the first few days," a spokesman said.

Conferences and motorcoach groups, which canceled or postponed visits to Williamsburg, are expected to rebook.

In Maryland, storm waters in Annapolis, Baltimore and Havre de Grace receded and most businesses have reopened.

Updates are posted at www.mdisfun.org.

Recovery and cleanup continues in North Carolina's eastern coastal region, and visitors have access to most areas of the Outer Banks except for parts of Hatteras Island.

Travel advisories and updates are posted at www.visitnc.com.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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