July 19 2010 by Chris McGinnis
Despite the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, millions of business and vacation travelers are still expected to visit the region in coming months. If you're soon headed to the coastal regions of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana or Mississippi, here's some helpful information:
- IMPACT NOT WIDESPREAD. There are thousands of miles of coastline in the Gulf Coast region and only a small portion of the area has been affected by the spill so far.. In the most heavily visited areas, cleanup crews are on standby to quickly contain and clean up any oil that reaches beaches. Big business travel destinations in the region such as New Orleans and Orlando foresee no impact on visitors.
- GO AHEAD AND GO. Best Western is encouraging travelers to proceed with plans to visit the Gulf region since beaches along the coast in all states are open for business. For those concerned about potential impact from the oil spill, Best Western has set up a helpful "Gulf Coast Travel Update" page on its website that includes links to advisories from tourism and oil spill response organizations in Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
- CLEAN UP EFFORT ONGOING. Several organizations and agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, National Weather Service and the Fish & Wildlife service have formed a "unified command" which offers frequent updates on the spill and cleanup efforts on the Deepwater Horizon Response page. In addition, BP has set up a "Gulf of Mexico Response" page on its website, providing up-to-date information on its attempts to cap the well and clean up the spill.
(PHOTO: Workers clean the beach in Ft. Pickens State Park in Pensacola, Fla. on June 22, 2010)