Tourism along the Gulf coast will take three years to recover from the Deepwater Horizon spill and the region could lose nearly $23 billion in revenue over that time period, a new study released today says.
That's the "high impact", or worst-case, scenario, according to Oxford Economics in a report prepared for the U.S. Travel Association. On the other end of the spectrum, tourism could return to "normal" levels by late 2011, with loses of $7.6 billion.
The study, Potential Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill on Tourism, uses the similar-sized 1979 Ixtoc spill off Mexico's coast for comparison. It took three years for the beaches there to return to pre-spill conditions.
It recommends a $500 million emergency marketing campaign aimed at bringing back travelers:
... we found tourism marketing campaigns to yield a return of $5 to $64 in visitor spending for every dollar spent on marketing.