The Gulf Coast oil spill may still be happening now, but the effects of the spill on the region's travel industry could last up to three years and cost as much as $22.7 billion, according to a Oxford Economics study.
The group studied past disasters, from SARS to Hurricane Katrina to the 2004 tsunami, all of which show that tourism is affected beyond the distast
Case studies of past disasters -- including the SARS outbreak, Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Asian tsunami -- show that tourism often is affected beyond the disaster area and long after the resolution of the crisis.
The U.S. Travel Association has called for a $500 million emergency marketing fund from BP to help the area provide clear information to travelers and try to attract new visitors.
In 2008, visitors spent more than $34 billion along the Gulf Coast, sustaining 400,000 jobs.