Monday, 26 July 2010 23:13

Locke Meets Louisiana Officials In New Orleans Talks BP Spill, Tourism, Travel

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Will Louisiana travel and tourism industries make a come-back after being down in the doldrums due to the BP oil spill?

That is the goal of the Barack Obama administration and U.S. Commerce Secretary,  Gary Locke,  who met today with the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in New Orleans, La., to review the work being done by travel and tourism industry and government leaders, and to discuss how they can support the industry in areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

“Jobs are the number one priority of the Obama administration and the travel and tourism industry plays a key role in that effort,” Locke said. “It's clear we are going to need a proactive and aggressive approach to expand travel and tourism both in the Gulf and throughout the United States.”

While the State of Louisiana is conceding that it needs help from outside sources such as the US government, it is shedding good light on the industry which has taken a heavy hit since the BP oil spill.

On the Louisiana Office of Tourism’s website, the department says it will monitor the impact of the oil spill and cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent coastal waterways.   And in doing so, the site states “Much of the Louisiana Gulf Coast is unaffected by the oil spill and remains open for commercial and recreational fishing.

All Louisiana coastal parishes (counties) continue to offer travelers historic and cultural attractions, world-acclaimed indigenous food and music, and notable restaurants and overnight accommodations.

A cap device has been successfully installed on the well at the site of the spill. Engineers now monitor the cap’s effectiveness as work to create relief wells resumes.

The primary area affected by the spill is around the mouth of the Mississippi River in the southeast region of Louisiana. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast maps identify an "area of uncertainty" that extends around the origin of the spill.

Affected coastal areas, as well as areas of uncertainty, have been closed to commercial fishing by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in portions of Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Terrebonne parishes.

Recreational and commercial fishing is unaffected off the coast of Cameron, Iberia, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes. Lake Borgne is closed to commercial fishing. Public beaches in Cameron Parish are unaffected and open for fishing and recreation.

When LDWF receives reports of possible oil, the agency closes those areas and initiates field surveys and seafood testing with the intent to be as safe as possible. As test results come back clearing the area, effected waters are then reopened.

The LDWF has lifted a ban on recreational sports fishing in most areas closed in recent weeks because of the oil spill. The exception is areas that have oil present and where cleanup operations are underway. The ban was lifted in areas after extensive testing was not showing contamination of fish in areas previously closed.

Is President Obama doing enough for Louisiana's travel or tourism industry?  What about BP?  Discuss these issues below:

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