Travelers cancel beach trips to avoid oil mess

(source WBRC video)
(source WBRC video)

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - As Alabama's Gulf Coast sees it's first signs of oil washing ashore, some vacationers who had planned beach trips months ago are now scrapping them last minute for a cleaner getaway.  

"I had a couple who called Friday to go to Mexico Sunday," said Debbie Perkins of Travel Planners, Inc. in Mountain Brook.  "That's very unusual to book that close."  

Perkins describes herself not just as a travel agent, but a travel therapist... helping to cure vacationers problems.  She says she first started getting calls last month from people asking if they should cancel their plans.  But these days, callers know they want a change.  

Perkins says many of them are opting for last minute cruises that will keep them on the water, just away from the mess.   

Perkins says she started getting calls early Monday morning, something that's also unusual.   

"There's been a lot of concern about it," Perkins said.

But, officials with the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau say they're seeing otherwise.   

"We knew we had, but we're definitely seeing that we have quite a few loyal vacationers," said Bureau spokesperson Kim Chapman.  Chapman says that even though a swimming advisory is in affect, the beaches are still open above the tide line.   

For those with questions, the CVB is referring them to its issues page, which, through YouTube, gives a daily update of beach conditions and suggestions on other activities away from the waters.  

Officials say there are noticeably fewer guests, but they're choosing to remain focused on the positives.  
"We are a very resilient island and we have rebounded from other weather events," Chapman said.  "And I am confident we will rebound from this."  

If you'd like an update on the Gulf Conditions, you can visit:

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