Posts Tagged ‘Oil Spill’

Helping the Gulf Coast Tourism Industry

Monday, July 26th, 2010
Importance of Leisure

Importance of Leisure

The U.S. Travel Association reports that as many as 400,000 travel industry jobs could be lost as a consequence of the oil spill in the Gulf Coast. The total potential cost of the spill to the Gulf Coast tourism industry is estimated at $22.7 billion with most of those losses, as much as $18 billion, likely to occur in Florida. “Travel is a perception business and the impact of disasters like the BP oil spill on the industry is actually predictable,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association in a press release. “We know from this research that the oil spill will have long-term effects on businesses and jobs in the Gulf Coast region unless we counteract the usual course of events with an unprecedented response.” The U.S. Travel Association is calling for a $500 million marketing campaign to encourage tourists to return to the Gulf.

Although I oppose spending federal government money to market and promote any industry, I do agree that it makes sense for the U.S. Commerce Department to create travel-related trade missions to encourage international tourists to visit the Gulf. That could certainly be done at low cost. The risk of advocating for tax credits to promote Gulf Coast tourism is that the effort could take tourist business from other parts of the U.S., thereby undermining broad public support for Gulf Coast rebuilding. The high unemployment rate hurts the tourist industry everywhere; unfortunately, the oil spill exacerbates this weakness for the Gulf of Mexico.

NOAA’s Oil Spill Scenario

Monday, July 5th, 2010
Spread Scenario

Spread Scenario

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has performed a simulation analysis on the possible dispersions of the oil spill, assuming leakage of 33,000 barrels per day that continues for 90 days. NOAA believes that under this scenario, there is an 80% probability that the oil slicks will move east of Florida and then north, effectively going around the peninsula into the Atlantic Ocean. There is a 20% chance that the oil spill could continue north up the Atlantic as far as Charleston, South Carolina, while also dispersing to the west to travel as far as Corpus Christi, Texas.  In the worst-case scenario, to which NOAA assigns a less than 1% probability, the oil slick could spread down to southern Mexico and the Caribbean region. We really should have immediately accepted the offer of the Netherlands to contain the spill quickly using their technology. Washington’s dithering and blame game puts our own interests and the interests of other countries at risk.

The Disaster Before Traditional Disaster Season

Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Getting Closer

Getting Closer (Source: NOAA)

The 2010 hurricane season does not start for another month, but small businesses in the Gulf Coast states are already facing a major threat to their livelihoods. More than 40,000 barrels of oil have been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20, when an explosion destroyed the Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling within 50 miles of Louisiana’s coastline. Eleven workers on that rig are unaccounted for and presumed dead. The cause of the explosion is not yet known. Crews are working round the clock to contain the expanding oil slick; deepwater robots are maneuvering to close the platform’s submerged valves. Burning the slick has been proposed as an option, but that creates air pollution and may further damage marine life. It could take months to contain the damage. Meanwhile, the oil spill could reach the shoreline of the Gulf Coast within days, threatening the oyster and shrimp industries and tourism. This comes at a time when the fishing industry is already struggling for its survival. It is threatened by lower-cost imports from Southeast Asia and unaffordable insurance at home. The fishing, shrimp and oyster industries are a major part of the Gulf Coast economy and have not yet recovered from the losses they sustained in Hurricane Katrina. We can only hope that the oil leakage is stopped as soon as possible and damages are minimized.