Jump to Navigation
My Turn
Other Views from Those in the Know
Carol Dover
FRLA President
Remembering Lives Lost, or Forever Changed, by BP Oil Spill

On the two-year anniversary of this devastating personal, environmental and economic catastrophe, we remember the 11 individuals who perished in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. We must never forget the loss of human life or the families of those who mourn.

The perception and threat of oil washing ashore Northwest Florida beaches during their peak season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, as well as the same perception all along Florida’s coastline, led to unprecedented cancellations of hotel and restaurant bookings. This contributed to hundreds of millions of dollars in lost income for our industry, massive layoffs in an already fragile economy, and a loss of jobs that hurt Florida families. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill tested the resolve of the tourism and hospitality industry, as an unprecedented loss of visitors impacted businesses large and small.

While British Petroleum (BP) established a $20 billion fund through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) for immediate and much-needed compensation, it took months, and in some cases years, for hospitality industry members to see any relief. Many employers and employees will never be made whole in their economic losses, their lives changed forever. According to Florida statistics found on the GCCF website, over 81,800 claims were made under the ‘Food, Beverage and Lodging’ category by individuals and businesses, with over $873 million paid through mid-April of this year.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is proud to have represented hoteliers, restaurateurs, and suppliers throughout the oil spill crisis by providing tourism briefings, claims procedures, legal support, town hall meetings, press conferences, and a paid media campaign through radio and print advertisements to let the world know that Florida is Open for Business.  Today, we continue in our quest to inform state, national and international visitors that our beaches are beautiful, our seafood is fresh, and our waters pristine.

We remain optimistic, yet vigilant, that claims will continue to be paid through the GCCF to industry members and that Florida’s state and national elected officials will maintain the ban on oil drilling off our shores.

Carol Dover is the President/CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org


Main menu 2

by Dr. Radut.