The effects of the BP oil spill on travel to the U.S. Gulf Coast will likely last up to three years and cost US$22.7 billion, according to a recent Oxford Economics study
of 25 recent natural and manmade disasters, though an aggressive campaign to attract visitors to the Gulf Coast could reduce the total economic impact by $7.5 billion. In that vein, the U.S. Travel Association
has released "Roadmap to Recovery
," a 10-point plan for government to help communities in crisis by implementing specific steps that inform public perceptions, incentivize travel and make impacted businesses whole.
Specific proposals for the federal government include:
1. The creation of a BP-funded, $500 million marketing program to share accurate information on the oil spill and attract visitors to the region
2. The development of a one-stop online portal where consumers can obtain up-to-the-minute information about what areas are safe and open for travel and business
3. Tax deductions in disaster-affected areas to give travelers added incentive to travel to and do business there
4. Intervention to provide increased access to capital, low-interest loans and tax incentives that allow businesses to remain open and retain employees.