From the New York Times:
MIAMI — Off Florida’s Gulf Coast, the seas are calm and the king mackerel are running. Captain Joe Meadows’s telephone should be ringing with bookings for his 42-foot sport fishing boat for the summer season. Instead, the calls are from reservation holders wondering if they should cancel.
In a state already reeling from foreclosures and unemployment, those whose livelihood depends on visitors lathered in sunscreen are trying to persuade tourists scared off by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to reconsider.
For now, Florida tourism is living and dying in 72-hour increments. While no oil from the spill — sheen, slick, blobs or balls — has washed ashore on Florida beaches yet, the state Department of Environmental Protection is guaranteeing such conditions for only three days at a time.
Hotel operators in Florida’s Panhandle say they are frustrated by headlines forecasting a “black tide” hitting Florida beaches.