Mark – Tourists Do Not Like Crude Oil

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- Mark


Informative Speech Revised Final Draft

Mark Canekeratne

Tourists do not Like Crude Oil

To Inform

As a result of my presentation, my audience will be able to explain the effects that the Gulf Coast oil spill had on the Gulf Coast's tourism.


[PP Cover] Who here likes to go to the beach? Most of us do. The sunny skies, the blue water, and the sugar white sands, make our beaches some of the most desirable vacation spots in the country. Gadling Travel in “35 fantastic U.S. Beaches for Summer” tells us that four of the top thirty-five beaches in the United States are on Florida's Gulf Coast. However, recently this ideal location that we call our home has been found less than desirable due to the oil spill. It is important for people to be aware of the impact the spill has had on tourism, so we know how and why to encourage the tourism industry. Tourism is a large source of revenue for the Gulf Coast, because when people visit the Gulf Coast they spend money. The better the tourism industry is, the better we all are. After all, a rising tide raises all ships. As a life-long resident of the Gulf Coast, I am astounded by the affects the spill has had on my home. As if the oil itself was not enough, the tourism dollars that contribute to the Gulf Coast's economy has dwindled. Today I am going to inform you of the profound affect the spill has had on the tourism of the Gulf Coast, the state of Florida, and the city of Pensacola Beach.

I. Gulf Coast

            A. Thinking About Oil

[PP Gulf Coast] First of all, Jones and Jervais in “Oil Spill Take Toll on Tourism on Gulf Coast” tell us that tourism on the Gulf Coast has been severely affected by the oil spill. When you hear “Gulf Coast”, what do you think of? Like many people you probably think “oil spill”. So, when people thought about the Gulf Coast they did not think about beautiful beaches, warm waters, and great seafood, they thought about the oil. This inevitably led to people becoming skeptical of traveling to the Gulf Coast. Jones and Jervis tell us that most people had canceled their vacation plans, and many others had never bothered to make any plans at all.

B. Statistics

Jones and Jervis relate that Alabama's tourism revenue was down by 75 percent in 2010, and the spill could result in a 120 million dollar loss for Mississippi's non-casino tourism. Jones and Jervis also tell us that Louisiana only saw 1.36 million of its usual 8 million tourism dollars. These figures certainly suggest that tourism revenue on the Gulf Coast has hit record lows. The trend also continues in Florida.

II. Florida

A. Statistics

[PP Florida] So, we saw how the spill affected tourism on the Gulf Coast. Now let's take a look at Florida, the Gulf Coast state with sugar white beaches. Tourism in Florida has been negatively affected by the oil spill. Skipp in “Florida Worries About Effect on Tourism” tells us that within the first three weeks of the spill, bookings to West Florida's destinations dropped by 15 percent. Huettel and Albright in “Oil Spill Puts Florida's Tourism Industry on Edge” relate that Hotels in Tampa Bay quickly reached vacancy once oil reached the area. You can see how these statistics illustrate that from the pan-handle to the pan, tourism is hurting. This is unfortunate because the State of Florida website tells us that tourism can have a 57 billion-dollar impact on Florida's economy.

B. Personal Experience

Florida is my native state, and I have witnessed first hand the recline of tourism on Florida's Gulf Coast. I spent the 2010 Fourth of July at Pensacola Beach. I remember thinking that it just seemed like a regular summer weekend would have been two years ago. Over the summer I applied for a job at Papa's Pizza (a restaurant on Pensacola Beach). The day I applied they told me that they had just laid off three employees, due to the fact that the summer had not yielded the typical up-swing in their business. I continued my job search from Destin, Florida to Perdido Key, Florida, yet I was turned down in large part due to the same reason.

III. White Beaches

A.    Statistics

[PP Pensacola Beach] Now that we have covered Florida, let's look at Pensacola Beach. This beach has prided itself on having the whitest beaches in the world, and is a prominent tourism attraction on Florida's Gulf Coast. I short, the oil spill has devastated Pensacola Beach's tourism industry. Leavenworth in “Oil Spill Takes Toll on Florida Tourism” tells us that hotel and restaurant owners on Pensacola Beach say the 2010 Fourth of July was the slowest they have ever seen. Leavenworth relates that in 2009 the Pensacola Beach Holiday Inn and Hilton were fully booked Fourth of July weekend, and the establishments struggled to reach 75 percent occupancy for Fourth of July 2010.

B.     Beach Resident

John Baldwin, a resident of Pensacola Beach for over ten years, told me that the traffic on the beach began to feel light even before the oil had made landfall. He conveyed that it was not unusual to be seated immediately when visiting a restaurant on the beach, even on the weekends. “It felt like the fall or winter season, even though it was the middle of summer” he told me.


[PP support]Overall, the oil spill has not been easy for the tourism industry. The Gulf Coast as a whole lost its appeal to tourists. Florida was off the list of vacation spots for most people. Pensacola Beach was a ghost town. Hotels have lost guests, and restaurants have lost patrons. The tourism of the Gulf Coast has never been more adversely affected, than it was by the oil spill. The oil spill was probably the most detrimental event that tourism on the Gulf Coast has ever faced.


Jones, C., Jervais, R. (2010, June 25). “Oil Spill Takes Toll on Tourism on Gulf Coast”         Retrieved February 17, 2011, from

Skipp, C. (2010, May 19). Florida Worries About Effect on Tourism. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from

Huettel, S., Albright, M. (2010, April 30). Oil Spill puts Florida’s Tourism Industry on Edge. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from

Leavenworth, C. (2010, July 2). Oil Spill Takes Toll on Florida Tourism. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from

Baldwin, J. Personal communication. February 23, 2011.

Gadling Travel. (May 4, 2010). 35 Fantastic U.S. Beaches for Summer. Retrieved March 2, 2011, from

State of Florida Web Site. Portal. Retrieved March 2, 2011, from