The Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is a beautiful, new 318-million dollar development that is hosted by Panama City, Florida–perfect for beach-seeking tourists looking to connect to Florida’s gulf shores, and perfect for generating millions in revenue for the state and geographic region.
Fighting through construction delays and the seasonal threat of being blasted by a gulf-bound hurricane, the newest U.S. based international airport has opened, and is now ready to welcome travelers–that is, if people will still come to the gulf shores for what they would consider a vacation. The drifting oil slick has created a cloud of doubt in the minds of many potential Florida travelers.
The state of Florida has their concerns, and rightly so. This is especially true as tar balls are washing up on the gulf shores of Mississippi and Alabama. There are simply no more states left to get through before this debacle known as the BP, Deepwater Horizon disaster hits Florida shores. While the edge of the spill lies more than 100 miles away from Panama City Beach, rogue remnants will certainly break free and make their way in with the tide.
Florida Governor, Charlie Crist, has requested that BP foot the bill for a 35 million dollar ad campaign to ensure booking and booked tourists that this oil spill won’t become a problem on Florida’s beloved gulf beaches.
At present there have been no problems on the Panama City Beach, and local authorities are confident that the spill won’t create problems in the immediate future, but is that enough to alleviate the minds of potential travlers?
What I find the most disturbing about the whole disaster is the lack of contingency. It simply never existed. The, “what do we do if…?” scenario. Perhaps even more disturbing is the amount of money BP is losing in the clean-up effort, compared to the fact that they’re probably still turning profits.
Sure, all of this is speculation on my part–a concerned voice gone awry, but they clearly don’t know what they’re doing in the water. Quite honestly, I think it’s time for the United States to get them out of the gulf and put our brightest minds on the offensive.
(Image via: Destinations 360)