With the estimated amount of oil spilling from the ruptured BP oil well much higher than was originally thought, the impact continues to be bleak for companies with recreational rentals and vacation property rentals along the Gulf Coast.
Hotels and vacation property rentals have continued to be plagued by cancellations, despite their offering of 24 hour cancellation policies, beach cams reporting clean beaches in Florida, and other tourism marketing tactics.
There have been reports of tar balls on beaches and oil slicks in the water, in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida. Beaches have had to be closed in some areas, and swimming advisories issued. But as the locals will tell you, the places where the oil has impacted the shoreline is only in spots. The affected areas only amount to a very small percentage of the 4000 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline.
Yet it’s little reassurance to the many people who are canceling their vacation property rentals along the Gulf Coast, and taking their vacations elsewhere. With vacation time only coming once a year for many people, no one wants to risk having their vacation ruined by tar balls on the beach, and swimming areas closed.
Individuals and companies with vacation properties and villas on the beach in Georgia, and South Carolina have seen a sharp increase in rentals, as many vacationers move their vacation to the East Coast.
Vacation property rentals and recreation rentals have also significantly increased around lakes. Lake Martin, in Alabama, and other lakefront vacation properties have become popular travel destinations again.
Those who rent out vacation properties, as well as event venues in Florida are bracing themselves for a long term impact of the oil spill, as well. Florida is host to many conventions and events. Many organizers of events, even events taking place six months from now, are nervous, wondering if they should host their event elsewhere. Some events have already been moved to new locations, in hopes that those beaches will remain clean.
Where the oil spill will continue to wash up onshore remains open to speculation. There are many variables at work including ocean currents, winds, and the hurricane season. Besides affecting the beaches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, the oil could end up in the Atlantic, or move west to Texas and Mexico.
Those with vacation property rentals and recreational rentals in the States surrounding the Gulf Coast hope travelers will remain optimistic, and find out all the facts about the area they plan to visit, before breaking their plans.