The impact of the BP oil spill on tourism

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Understanding the effects of a tourism crisis: The impact of the BP oil spill on regional lodging demand

From Journal of Travel Research

Tourism as one of the most economically important industries is also one of the most vulnerable to crises and disasters. When crises or disasters take place, tourism industries, the tourists they serve, and the local community are affected such events divert tourism flows away from not only a particular destination but also neighboring regions or countries. As argued in this article, there have been a growing number of crises and disasters affecting the tourism industries, giving rise to a need to better understand the impact of such events.

This study has attempted to assess the impact of the 2010 Gulf oil spill across the U.S. coastal regions with the greatest predicted risk of oil spill contact. Two valid and reliable sources of secondary data were assessed to allow year-on-year comparisons of commercial lodging performance in the region. The results underscore the difficulties in determining damages at the macro level that in this case has resulted to date in US$13.5 billion of out of court settlements paid by BP to settle business owner claims. The data clearly show the complexity of the impact, with both winners and losers from the disaster identified in the data presented in this article. It provides a better understanding of the impact of the Gulf oil spill on the accommodation industry as a whole, as well as comparisons between the hotel and the vacation rental industries, and between regions in the affected area.

Abstract

Tourism as one of the most economically important industries is also one of the most vulnerable to crises and disasters. This study is focused on measuring the short-term impact of a recent incidence, the 2010 BP Gulf oil spill, using a systems perspective. Drawing from two datasets measuring the performance of the hotel and vacation rental industries, a major part of the accommodation industry, this study reveals the complex changes that occurred across a region that experienced this man-made disaster. The data clearly shows the complexity of the impact, generating both winners and losers on an industry and geographic basis. In addition, the results underscore the difficulties in determining damages at the macro level that in this case has resulted to date in US$13.5 billion of out of court settlements paid by BP to settle business owner claims. Practical implications and future research avenues are highlighted including the availability of secondary data sources.

 

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Article details

Ritchie, B., Crotts, J., Zehrer, A., & Volsky, G. (2013). Understanding the Effects of a Tourism Crisis: The Impact of the BP Oil Spill on Regional Lodging Demand Journal of Travel Research DOI: 10.1177/0047287513482775

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