Representatives of SouthCoast USA, a multi-state consortium of destinations along Interstate 10 and the Gulf of Mexico organized to promote the region as one of America’s top pleasure destinations, and U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow hosted a tourism summit at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel to urge travellers to visit the region.
Tourism bureau officials from each SouthCoast USA destination also announced they have signed a joint letter requesting BP to grant $10 million in marketing and advertising funding designated for the purpose of promoting tourism to the region.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, $94 billion is spent annually on travel and tourism in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
“Tourism is our livelihood, particularly in the summer months, and the best way for Americans to help support the Gulf Coast during this difficult time is to plan a trip to the region,” said Mike Foster, Chairman of SouthCoast USA.
“Our destinations are rich in unique attractions and a southern hospitality experience that you will never forget. I encourage all summer travelers to make a difference and make the trip.”
“We’re working closely with Gulf Coast tourism officials because it’s not too late to cap the damage to travel and save the one million jobs travel generates in the four Gulf Coast states impacted by this spill,” said U.S. Travel Association President & CEO Roger Dow. “Travel is dependent on perceptions, and the greatest threat to the travel community here is the lost opportunity if travelers don’t fully understand the reality that destinations along thousands of miles of the coast are ready to welcome visitors.
“The road to recovery must start now by gathering research and sharing accurate information, funding marketing and promotion efforts and minimizing panic. U.S. Travel is developing concrete proposals to bring business and spending back to the region and will introduce them over the next few weeks. We are working with the government and BP to ensure recovery begins immediately and we do not wait until communities and jobs are devastated. The best way for people to help these communities is to come here and visit.”
Attending the meeting were representatives from Lake Charles, Lafayette, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houma, and North Shore, Louisiana; Mississippi’s West Coast; Mobile and Gulf Shores-Orange Beach, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida.