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A year ago, many residents of the Gulf Coast were expecting another summer of tourists and fun in the sun.

But tourism was dealt a heavy blow when a BP oil rig exploded, spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, one year later, tourists are returning to the region.

“We’ve got hoteliers right now telling us they have more on the books for May, June and July than they had actually stay there in 2009, the months before the oil spill,” Ed Schroeder, director of the Pensacola Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau told the Associated Press.


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