BP gives $16 million for Gulf Coast tourism

Orange Beach, photo courtesy Alabama Department of Tourism
Orange Beach, photo courtesy Alabama Department of Tourism

MONTGOMERY (WBRC) - Alabama's Gulf Coast communities that have taken a hit from a lack of tourism dollars are going to receive some much needed help from BP—about $16 million worth of help.

Governor Robert Bentley announced Tuesday in a statement that his office negotiated the grant with the oil company. He said that the state was the hardest hit by last year's oil spill.

"Alabama will use these funds to promote tourism so our Gulf Coast communities can begin to recoup the losses suffered since the disaster," Bentley said.

To date, BP has given $38 million to aid in the recovery of Alabama's tourism industry. This money is specifically designated for affected areas in Baldwin and Mobile Counties. The Alabama Department of Tourism will work with the Alabama Coastal Development Commission to help administer funds where it is needed most.

"The funds will allow us to encourage visitors to return to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Dauphin Island this summer," Lee Sentell, the director of the Alabama Department of Tourism said. "We already have a marketing plan prepared and this grant will get the Alabama Gulf Coast back on the radar screen of potential visitors."

Sentell said his department has been using the last part of a BP grant it received last May to help market the beaches as spring break destinations.

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