Pushing BP to Promote Tourism


BP is spending millions to preserve its public image during the oil spill, and some Gulf-area tourism officials want the oil company to fund their efforts to do the same.

The U.S. Travel Association is proposing that BP set aside $500 million for a marketing campaign to help draw tourists back to the Gulf Coast. The association’s president, Roger Dow, made the proposal Tuesday (July 27) in prepared testimony to the House committee looking into the oil spill’s impact on tourism.

Dow says his group commissioned a study that found the spill could result in lost tourism in coastal areas to the tune of nearly $23 billion over three years. He says the $500 million could come from either the $20 billion BP has set aside to pay for economic damages or could be added to it.

The idea has been floating around for a while now; the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau suggested a similar plan in June. I don’t think much of this idea. The money should go to victims and not fat cat PR firms. Spend PR money when it can be proven the water is clean.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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