Oil spill impacting holiday tourism - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oil spill impacting holiday tourism

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By David Elliott – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Most businesses in the tourism industry rely on the Memorial Day holiday weekend to get the summer off to a strong start.

Traffic on the beach in Harrison County was light on Monday, and vendors were looking for tourists.

Out at Ship Island Excursions in Gulfport, Captain Louis Skrmetta said his business is down 50 percent from last year.

"We were expecting about 2,400 people over the three days. We've taken roughly 1,000 people out to the island," Skrmetta said.

Captain Skrmetta believes national coverage of the oil spill is the primary reason behind the loss of business.

"We're getting about 30 phone calls a day from people asking if there's oil on Ship Island. I tell them no."

All of the people in the tourist trade are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping to get as much as possible out of this summer, in spite of the oil slick lurking in the Gulf.

"We'd like to get through the Fourth of July weekend and may be able to salvage something out of the season," Skrmetta said as he prepared to take another group of passengers out to Ship Island.

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