Coming & Going: Travel group wants BP to aid in Gulf Coast marketing; borrow bikes at Fairmont Hotels

Friday, July 23, 2010; 12:45 PM

Roadmap to recovery?

The Gulf Coast stands to lose 400,000 travel industry jobs, and it's up to BP to pay to save them, the U.S. Travel Association asserted last week.

In a 10-point "Roadmap to Recovery" released last Thursday, the association called for BP to finance a $500 million marketing campaign to attract visitors to the region.

The association also released an economic analysis of the oil spill's impact. Based on the aftermath of 25 recent natural and man-made disasters, forecasting firm Oxford Economics projected that it will take the Gulf Coast three years and $22.7 billion to recover.

"Travel is a perception business, and the impact of disasters like the BP oil spill on the industry is actually predictable," said Roger Dow, president and chief executive of U.S. Travel.

In addition to the marketing campaign, U.S. Travel recommended that the federal government create a "one stop shop" online portal where consumers can get up-to-the-minute information on affected areas; provide tax deductions to travelers who visit and do business in the region; increase access to low-interest loans for tourism-related businesses; and organize travel and tourism-specific trade missions to the Gulf Coast states.

"It's not too late to save Gulf Coast jobs and keep attracting visitors [to] prevent further damage to these vital America communities," Dow said.

Travel Ticker

On Feb. 16, AirTran Airways will begin service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The round-trip, nonstop flights between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Punta Cana International Airport will be available twice a week. Travelers can connect to the Atlanta flight from Reagan National or BWI Marshall .

Reporting: Becky Krystal, Nancy Trejos. Send travel news to: . By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071

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