By Melissa Nardo
BP has stepped up to the plate and is working to correct their mistake, and restore tourism to the southern coastal states. Due to the oil spill, states such as Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida had a big loss of income; no one wanted to visit the oil damaged coastline. All of the Gulf Coast beaches were closed and deemed unsafe, during the summer and fall of 2010. A lot of people still envision oil covered beaches, and this vision is what BP plans to correct.
Bringing back tourism will help dig a lot of business owners out of debt. BP is helping the Gulf Coast states by financially supporting a new tourism campaign. Over the last year, BP has given about $117 million in grants to help bring back tourism, and “each state is using the tourism funds to develop specific marketing programs.” Also, special events, such as concerts, have been used to attract more tourism.
So far it looks like BP’s campaign is making an impact. Tourists returned to the Gulf Coast states for 2011’s spring break, and this is “an early indicator of the resilience of the Gulf Coast.” Missy Zak, a real estate agent in charge of rentals says, “This weekend was even trending ahead of where we were pre-oil spill .” Matt Shipp, owner of Shipp’s Island Thyme Grill reports, “spring break season has really picked up and been successful.”
BP has been running tests on the water, and results show that the beaches are safe to return to. A BP spokesperson states, “we can absolutely say with confidence that the waters are safe, that the sands and beaches are safe.” BP and Gulf Coasts residents want to make it clear that they are back to normal, and enthusiastically awaiting the tourist season.