Up to 400,000 travel industry jobs could be lost as a result of the BP oil disaster, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
The organisation has also put the cost of the spill at $22.7 billion and a three-year recovery period, based on a study by Oxford Economics on the aftermath of 25 recent natural and man-made disasters.
“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 chief executive of U.S. Travel.
In a 10-point “Roadmap to Recovery”, the association has called for BP to finance a $500 million marketing campaign to attract visitors to the region.
In addition to the marketing campaign, U.S. Travel recommended that the federal government create a “one stop shop” online portal where consumers can get up-to-the-minute information on affected areas; provide tax deductions to travellers who visit and do business in the region; increase access to low-interest loans for tourism-related businesses; and organize travel and tourism-specific trade missions to the Gulf Coast states.
“It’s not too late to save Gulf Coast jobs and keep attracting visitors to prevent further damage to these vital America communities,” Dow added.