A new survey shows that some potential visitors from up north, are confused and downright mis-informed about where oil is coming ashore in Fla.
"We heard rumors that the oil had reached Sarasota, and that the fumes could be smelled in Ft. Myers," said Charles Seymour of Maryland. "We almost cancelled our trip to Sanibel." Both of those rumors are not true.
Triple-A talked with 1500 adults in the Eastern U.S., starting last Friday. 24% of respondents believed the oil had reached Sanibel Island. That too is not true. 13% had changed plans to come to the Gulf Coast because of oil. And of the July 4th weekend visitors, 29% had changed plans because of oil.
"I consider it a negative when people change plans. It shows we need to do more to get the accurate word out. Our beaches are clean and wonderful," said Marsha Kut of Triple-A in Ft. Myers.
The Sanibel Chamber of Commerce agrees. "It is not a shock, because the national media has been lumping all the beaches together as the gulf beaches. That's probably why our phones are not ringing," said Ric Base, President of the chamber. "We know there is going to be mis-information and rumors. We have to try to link people to the web pages, so they can see the accurate picture of our beaches."
Tamara Pigott, dir. of the Lee Visitor and Convention Bureau, says the survey shows why the bureau if advertising so heavily up north. "We are airing commercials to show our clean beaches. We have to keep doing that. We believe the campaign is working, because hits on our web-site went up 16 percent last week, over the previous week," Pigott told WINK.