Bauer Business Focus

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Lydia Westbrook | September 3, 2010

Published on September 1, 2010

Lydia Westbrook is the research director of the American Hotel & Lodging Association Information Center housed at the UH Hilton College.

On Bauer Business Focus – A conversation on tourist perceptions of oil in the Gulf with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

Though months have passed since the BP oil spill, tourism fall-out in the Gulf from this summer is expected to carry over well into the fall.

“Unfortunately, it’s been a perception problem,” says Lydia Westbrook, who teaches tourism at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. “The reality is the overwhelming majority of beaches and communities are open for business and ready to embrace the tourists. However because of reports people have seen, they are afraid to go.”

She added, “People are afraid to buy a non-refundable ticket for the fall when they think that oil might be an issue.”

The U.S. Travel Association commissioned a report from Oxford Economics that predicted the impact could last at a minimum of 15 months and a maximum of three years.

“Texas has actually been pretty fortunate. Our impact here has been minimal.”

Click here for the full interview.

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