September 16 2010 | Latest NewsThe $75 million will help stabilize the industry...
Thursday, September 16, 2010
BY: CityBusiness staff reports
BATON ROUGE â€” Lt. Governor Scott Angelle is requesting another $75 million from BP for tourism recovery following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Angelle sent his request by letter Wednesday to Larry Thomas, BP’s general manager of governmental and public affairs. He noted that almost all of the $15 million the company previously gave the state has been spent, and a recent study shows that there is still a negative national perception about the effects of the oil spill on Louisiana seafood and as a tourist destination.
“We are aware that there is a direct correlation between the oil spill and the negative perception of the Louisiana seafood brand to potential visitors,” Angelle wrote. “Clearly we are in need of additional resources to continue this battle against negative perception.”
The perception study that Angelle refers to indicated that 48 percent of people surveyed nationally were under the impression that seafood served in Louisiana restaurants is putting the health of diners at risk. When polled in August, 29 percent of respondents who had plans to visit Louisiana said they canceled or postponed their trips because of the oil spill.
“Historically, the state’s number one tourism asset has been our unique cuisine, and that cuisine is tied to our seafood,” Angelle’s letter states. “â€¦In damaging our seafood brand, the oil spill has simultaneously damaged our tourism brand, as the two are inextricably linked.”
Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the $5 million his group received from the state’s $15 million allocation helped “prevent serious damage” to the city’s tourism industry. A plan is place to use additional marketing money from BP to stabilize what is a $5 billion industry in the city, he said.
According to numbers from Angelle’s office, tourism generated $8.3 billion in direct spending in Louisiana last year. If 29 percent of those visitors had altered their plans, it would have resulted in a $2.4 billion impact.â€¢