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Oil Spill’s Effect on Tourism Still Unknown

May 4th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

More than 11 thousand people have logged on to the states tourism web site to check on the oil spill since this past weekend. Hundreds more are calling. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the state is in the unenviable position of telling people we dont know yet.

In its first full day of operation, the Florida emergency Information hotline was fielding a call every three minutes.

Theyre concerned about their vacationing plans,” phone volunteer Holly Jane Aldrige said.

Since it became operational over the weekend, 11 thousand people have clicked on the states tourism website for news about the oil spill. So far the answer they have received is that Florida is open for business, but check back.

We dont know what the effects are going to be, so there are people who are concerned,” Will Setcombe with Visit Florida said. “Our goal is to try to make sure that they get answers from a trusted source, the official source of information for travel to the sunshine state.

Last year 80 million people spent 60 billion dollars in Florida.

Visit Florida says that for every 85 people who dont come to Florida, perhaps to buy gas, one job will be lost.

Fish and oysters in Florida waters have not been affected, yet.

We are scared to death that the spill will come into the areas where we fish and besides that, come into the bays,” Bob Jones with Southeast Fisheries said. “If it comes into Apalachicola Bay, thats the entire oyster industry.

Some charters are reporting a 40 percent drop in bookings. For now, tourism and coastal-based business are holding their breath, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

Local officials are asking that a representative from FEMA, British Petroleum and Floridas Department of Environmental Protection be available in counties up and down the Gulf Coast.

Posted in Business, Economy, Environment, Oil Drilling, State News | No Comments »

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