The Oil Spill's Unintended Consequences

Santa Barbara enjoys a 1.2 billion dollar tourism industry that employs between 12 and 13,000 people. While this week's oil spill is up the coast from the City of Santa Barbara some think all of the news accounts have made some believe the spill is impacting the famous city. It really isn't. The spill hasn't moved that far down the coast. But, the county has definitely been impacted.

Chief Petty Officer David Mosley says, "We know that people are going to be impacted. It's Memorial Day Weekend here. We have two state beaches that are closed here at El Capitan and Refugio and there are other beaches that are being impacted by the oil." The closures are keeping campers away and hurting businesses that depend on them like the one owned by Michael Cohen. His Santa Barbara Adventure Company has been plagued by phone calls and cancellations.

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Cohen says "Once the park shut down all of our tours for Memorial Day weekend are shut down. That was 25 people off the bat." He says that amounted to about a $3000 loss. He's afraid that's just the beginning. Cohen says the far reaching effects are creeping into the tourism sector. We had about 30 calls yesterday from people concerned about coming to Santa Barbara."

The kayak guided trip owner says tourists are seeing news accounts and worrying the whole Santa Barbara coastline is covered.

The Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau doesn't have projections on the numbers of tourists expected this holiday weekend, but they say their hotels have been getting phone calls from tourists asking if the oil spills has affected Santa Barbara. Once told it hasn't affected the city, they say those tourists have been continued on with their journeys to Santa Barbara.

Michael Cohen hopes that's what they'll continue to do. He really is worried about his business.

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