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by Loren G. Edelstein | July 22, 2010

The U.S. Travel Association and Oxford Economics today projected -- based on an analysis of 25 recent natural and manmade disasters -- that the effects of the BP oil spill on travel to the Gulf Coast will likely last up to three years and cost the region $22.7 billion. As a result of the findings, the U.S. Travel Association proposed a comprehensive $500 million effort to attract visitors to the Gulf Coast and reduce the total economic impact by as much as $7.5 billion. The full report is available here.

"History and current trends indicate a potential $22.7 billion economic loss to the travel economies of the Gulf Coast states over the next three years," said Adam Sacks, managing director of Oxford Economics USA, in a press conference with the U.S. Travel Association this afternoon. "One of the most cost-effective ways to mitigate these damages is to immediately fund strategic marketing to counter misperceptions and encourage travel to the region."
 
"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. "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 complemented the release of the Oxford Economics study with a "Roadmap to Recovery," a 10-point plan for government to help communities in crisis by implementing specific action steps that inform public perceptions, incentivize travel to an affected area and make impacted businesses whole.