Thursday, 27 January 2011

Oil Spill Economic Impact - Seafood Prices Rise, Jobs Lost, Tourism Down

The Gulf oil spill is already widely regarded as being one of the worst and most damaging environmental accidents in American history. While those around the world may watch with awe, Gulf coast citizens are feeling it especially hard with job loss and a massive drop in tourism. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is witnessing an increase in seafood prices.
The Gulf coast has historically been one of the largest seafood-providing parts of America, and the oil spill has caused detrimental damage to the industry. As much of the area is not currently able to be fished, the country's seafood supply has had to be rerouted through other areas such as Maine and California. Since the market has shrunk significantly but demand has not changed, prices have seen a large increase, especially for those who live far from a local body of seafood-producing water.
Meanwhile, fishermen and seafood plants on the Gulf coast are in limbo, and many are jobless. Most people don't know when they'll be able to go back to work, and are anxiously looking for work in other areas. Many worry that the spill will not be cleaned up in time for them to get back to work and save their homes from being foreclosed on.
Tourism on the Gulf coast has also been hit extremely hard. Going into one of the busiest seasons of the year with an oil spill as a precursor has acted like the perfect storm, causing tourists to reroute their vacations and restaurants, hotels and other hospitality sectors in the Gulf to lower their prices to dirt-cheap rates just to attract a stray traveler.
Businesses such as these rely on the summer in order to make enough money to stay open throughout the rest of the year, and many worry that 2010 could be one of the worst years they've ever seen. Some have even taken to selling their businesses and switching professions, as the industry expects the drop in tourism to last for some time.
But there has been some good news for local hotels - the large number of oil spill lawyers in the area have been a boon to New Orleans hotels. And BP recently asked for bids on 200 hotel rooms for between 6 months to 2 years to house their army of lawyers that are handling compensation claims.