Florida struggles with tourism due to oil spill scare


The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is looking to be one expensive mess for the state of Florida. That is because the Sunshine State relies heavily on tourism dollars, especially during the summer months.


This unfortunate disaster could wind up costing Florida $10.9 billion, with 195,000 jobs being axed in the travel and tourism industry. The nonstop media coverage of bad news about the Gulf Coast has made many travelers planning to visit Florida rethink their plans.


Florida officials have stated that their beaches are fine right now and there is no reason visitors should cancel their vacations just yet. According to an interview conducted by Business Week with Chris Thompson, head of the state’s tourism office in Tallahassee, "Florida draws about 80 million visitors a year, bringing in $60 billion
and making tourism the state’s No. 1 industry." To put it into perspective, roughly 1 million of Florida’s 19 million residents work in tourism.


BP has provided Florida with a $25 million grant that the oil company said will be used to help with the oil spill and pay for advertising that will be aimed at travelers second guessing spending some time at the state's beaches.


This is the second $25 million grant that BP has handed over to Florida in recent weeks. The last one was for an ad campaign entitled "The Coast is Clear" which started airing in mid-May. It was later pulled when oil started coming ashore northwest Florida beaches last week.


Question: Has the BP oil spill changed your summer plans to the Sunshin State or neighboring states (Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana)? 


Source: Business Week  

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