Tampa Bay Times STEVE MARK ALBRIGHT Huettel Tampa Bay Times Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:33 pm
The massive oil spill spreading out in. the Gulf of Mexico has Florida's tourism industry on edge.
Hotel operators, bar owners and tour companies know just how quickly travelers from the United States and overseas plans change When news of the disaster breaks.
"Now, the news medium in Europe has it to an environmental story, '' says DT Minich, tourism director for Pinellas County, who calls his contacts in Germany and England for daily updates." But the minute some of this oil makes landfall, it will become a tourism story about the beaches.''
The slick on Pensacola's beaches Could curtail the tourism far away to Miami, since many overseas visitors will hear "Florida beaches hit with oil" and not make the distinction between particular locations.
"If (the spill) hits a Florida beach anywhere, it's like When we have a hurricane or wild fire, '' said Minich." A lot of people do not understand how big is Florida.''
The spill is already getting plenty of play in the European media.
The Times of London had a headline on its website: "U.S. faces worst oil spill in its history." The BBC's story, with a headline of "U.S. steps up oil disaster response, " did not mention Florida, at least not as of Thursday afternoon.
Tourism ranks among Florida's top industries, along with health care and retailing. Tourists spent $ 65.2 billion in 2008 and supported just over a million jobs, According to VisitFlorida, the state's quasi-public tourism agency. Overseas visitors are Particularly valuable since They trend to stay longer and spend more.
Florida is not in immediate danger, but the spill was expected to wash into the Mississippi River delta on Thursday night.
The head of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Urged visitors not to change vacation plans or scratch the state as a summer vacation choice. "Florida is open for business, and we welcome tourists to our 1, 800 miles of coastline and 1, 200 miles of sandy beaches, '' said CEO Carol Dover.
The travel industry nationally and in Florida was seeing signs of a nascent recovery this year after a disastrous 2009. Beach communities in the Florida Panhandle Could lose the heart of Their peak summer season, said Walter Klages, who conducts research for four tourist Gulf Coast counties, including Pinellas.
Winter and spring months Remain the Tampa Bay area's biggest draw. But the summer drive market has been important Increasingly, Klages said. Losing que'' could have a distracting effect - people off Their Eyes Could take us to the destination.''
The potential lurking out in. the foul gulf revived memories of how the bunker oil spill in 1993 undermined tourism and waterfront living on the south Pinellas beaches for at least four years. Lawsuits filed by hotel operators to recover damages went on for eight years.
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Oil spill - USbanks - exposure of $136.4 billion2010-06-18 13:12:10 by sdb38
On the lending side, Foresight Analytics of Oakland, CA confirms to the WSJ that U.S. banks have a total exposure of $136.4 billion to commercial real estate owners and developers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
While BP PLC has pledged to reimburse financial victims from a $20 billion escrow fund announced today (June 16), it isn't clear if that will help real-estate-relat...s hotels business.
The Motley Fool, an online investment commentary publication, notes BP has put 114 gasoline stations and convenience-store properties on the block in 22 states.
The majority of the properties are being marketed as redevelopment sites while some are being offered as part of potential franchise deals, according to the website of BP's broker, Jones Lang LaSalle.
Spill Burnoff may effect FL West coast!!!2010-04-28 13:17:35 by krizpy99
It's the coastline. Or the air.
If a growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is left to drift toward shore, birds and other wildlife will suffer, in addition to tourism and businesses that make their living off the water.
If the spill is set afire in a giant blaze designed to burn off much of the oil, the shore will be spared the brunt, but the air quality will suff...the air," he added. "But is it going to create soot? Is it a trade-off?''
Only time will tell.
Depending on the wind direction, smoke and smoot from the planned fire could wind up blowing toward the west coast of Florida.
"I wouldn't want to be downwind from it myself,'' said Pamela Hallock Muller, a professor in the marine science department at the University of South Florida.
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