It has been reported that a million fewer visitors visited Alabama’s beaches in 2010 than the year before. It should also be noted that many people who visited after the oil spill were attracted by huge discounts. According to Mike Foster, vice president of marketing for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism, that means “the economic blow is a lot bigger than what you see in just straight numbers of attendance.”
In 2010, Alabama Gulf Coast beaches — including Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island — saw 3.6 million visitors, compared to 4.6 million people in 2009, according to a report from the Alabama Tourism Department. Gulf State Park alone saw 300,000 fewer visitors in 2010 than the previous year. The Department receives 1% of the 4% state lodging tax. But officials have not yet determined how much lodging revenue was lost in 2010.
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