BP disaster hurts tourism

A new study
says the BP rig disaster has cut into Louisiana’s tourism business, but likely
not permanently.

The study
commissioned by state tourism officials concluded that while 17 per cent of the
vacationers surveyed said they had canceled summer plans to visit Louisiana, 83
per cent said they would consider traveling to the Pelican State.

Pam Breaux of
the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism told the (New Orleans)
Times-Picayune that public perception of the scope of the oil spill remains a
key factor in salvaging the tourism season.

“There are
people who think (the oil spill) affects New Orleans and the whole state,”
Breaux said. “We have to keep studying the perception.”

The poll said
39 per cent of the respondents believed the spill was not being accurately
portrayed in the national media; however 28.2 per cent thought the damage was
being exaggerated compared to 33.3 per cent who believed it was being played

BP has already
ponied up $15 million to the state to promote tourism in New Orleans and
coastal communities.

The department
survey was conducted June 18-21, about two months after the well blowout caused
crude oil to flow into the Gulf of Mexico. The poll contacted 903 individuals
in key Louisiana regional tourist markets from Texas to Florida.