Florida tourism is feeling the effects of oil spill - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Florida tourism is feeling the effects of oil spill

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Posted by Elizabeth Stewart - email

DESTIN, FL (WFLX) - For nearly three months, Destin, Florida, like the rest of America's Gulf Coast communities, has been held hostage by the BP oil spill.

"The psychological damage is done," says local motel owner Dieter Blasbichler. And news of the temporary cap is being met with a mixture of relief and frustration. "The season is half over and all the tourists still think the panhandle beaches are oiled," says Blasbichler.

Some panhandle restaurants, which make their year's profits during the summer, have seen business drop as much as 50 percent. At AJ's, the kitchen's slower than it should be. The wait staff's glad the leak's stopped but is nowhere near ready to forgive.

"Oh no, we are affected and I feel bad every time I go to BP to collect my claim check. I feel like I'm going on welfare," says waiter Danny Carleton. 

Most service industries along the Gulf have paid a deep pocket price and realize tourists might not soon forget the oily images on the beach. "The only thing that we can do is survive. This is a community of survivers. It is similar to a hurricane or weather that comes through. We survive things," says Tracy McCraw of AJ's Seafood Market.

While BP isn't ready to call the temporary oil cap a success just yet, many of the people affected by the spill say they aren't ready to forgive BP anytime soon.

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