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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gulf Coast Tourism - Driven by Staycations?

Not sure about the national market, but here in Mississippi I see a "Come Visit the Gulf Coast" commercial like this one a couple of times a night.

According to this BP-funded piece, 2011 was a heckuva year across the Gulf region of TX, LA, MS, AL, and FL. I'm curious how much of that improved tourism was due to an increase in "staycations" and how much was caused because of BP's "everything is OK" marketing campaign. You can be on the Coast from St. Louis in an easy day of driving and from Chicago in a closer to miserable but not too much worse than dealing with the airlines daylong kinda drive. The number of people within an easy/doable drive coupled with the depressed economy seems to point to more people showing up on the Coast. Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful sites to be seen down here, like these shots from the Emerald Coast of Florida along 30A near one of my preferred destinations.
But it doesn't have the wow factor of Nevis & St Kitts or the Montserrat mystique (here's to Brian Wilson). I'm hoping for the sake of the folks who depend on the influx of cash into the region that whatever the reason, the tourism spike in the Gulf region levels out higher than in the past and has a moderate long-term growth rate instead of creating a big boom-bust cycle.
PS - I wonder how much BP paid to have that cheeseball sandcastle constructed for their spot.

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