Meeks tells BP $25 million isn't nearly enough
While the image of oil covering Floridaâs beaches may not be reality, it is already causing people to cancel their visits to Florida. To help combat this, BP pledged to give Florida $25 million to convince the rest of the world that its beaches are clean. Today Democratic US Representative and Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek sent a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward asking him to up that number four-fold.
Meek said that he expects an effective marketing campaign, which would blanket cities like Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis, would likely cost at least $96 million, but maybe more. He said that the oil giant is good for it.
In Florida, tourism is a $65 billion per year industry. Already, Meek said, the Panhandle has seen a 70% dropoff in reservations. The rest of the Gulf Coast hasnât fared well either. Itâs seen a 15% drop in reservations. Meek says the charter fishermen heâs spoken with are also beginning to feel the crunch.
On the question of what happens if oil does wash up in Florida, Meek said itâs not like the entire coast will see it.
Meek said BP needs to consider the timing of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Tampa Bayâs beaches are already seeing some cancellations because of spill. Robin Grabowski is President of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce. She says area hotels have already gotten a few cancellations.
While the numbers may not be significant, sheâs more worried about those who arenât making reservations.
Grabowski said the Chamber is taking advantage of social media, but does not have the money to market Tampa Bayâs oil-free beaches in a way that would compensate for the money that may be lost due to inaccurate perceptions of the oil spillâs proximity to Tampa Bay.
She said she doesnât want to see a repeat of the 1993 spill.
Grubowski said Representative Meekâs request for 75 million additional dollars is good news, but that sheâs being realistic on the question of whether BP will actually agree to that number.
As of air time, there is no word on whether BP will fulfill Representative Meekâs request.comments powered by Disqus