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Rising Gas Prices Could Lower Florida Tourism

May 7th, 2008 by flanews

More than half of Americans in the Southeast are considering cancelling summer vacations, because of gas prices, according to a recent report. As Whitney Ray tells us, the soaring price of gas could worsen the states economy which relies heavily on travel.

Mike Johnson stops short of filling up his gas tank.

I havent filled up in a while but its a hundred bucks, said Johnson.

Like Johnson many Floridians are finding it harder to fill up. Florida State University researcher Wayne Hochwarter surveyed eight hundred people in the southeast and found the recent spike in gas prices is changing habits.

On the extremes its causing people to choose between gas and medicine and gas and food.

The price of a gallon is also causing people more stress at work as more of their money goes into their tanks. One in three people surveyed say they would consider taking a job closer to home, so they wouldnt have to fill up as often.

People are also cancelling vacations. More than half the people polled say they dont know if they can afford to get away. Visit Florida spokeswoman Dia Kuykendall recognizes that gas prices will hurt tourism in the state, but she doesnt believe the situation in dire.

People will probably pare down maybe how many nights they are away or take shorter trips or stay closer to home, but we do believe people will still travel, said Kuykendall.

For an industry thats survived hurricanes, the rising gas prices could be a harder storm to weather, as analysts predict gas will pass the four dollar mark this summer. About 40 percent of people polled say increased gas prices have lowered their standard of living.

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