Alabama tourist town recovering from 2010 BP oil spill

Gulf Shores tourism in the summer of 2010 was headed the wrong way because of the BP oil spill, but times are better now.

People are once again pouring into Gulf Shores for a good time, and business owners are pleased. C.J. Gough owns Scoot-A-Round.

"This year we're looking real good," Gough said. "Spring break kicked us off really good and summer is here and things are popping around here.  We're doing excellent."

Condo and hotel rentals are up, as well, but the memory of the spill still lingers and still impacts the bottom line. John Boller is the president of Gulf Shores Rentals.

"People have not totally forgotten about it as far as the long term impact," Boller said. "We're still giving people breaks; we're still not able to get the same amount of price, and we're still doing some discounting to get the people back."

One family that came back for a visit is the Burke family from Cincinnati. The spill never came up for them, according to Mom Adlaann.

"We didn't hear a thing about it. It was more out of sight, out of mind. The places that we went no one spoke about it."

Most of the business owners I talked to here in Gulf Shores said they are doing much better this year than last year when the oil spill was at its height. But despite the gains this year, it doesn't make up for the loss of last year.

Tina Royster is a souvenir shop manager.

"What we're doing this year is what we should do on a normal year," Royster said. "There is going to be no way that we can make up a loss unless something amazing really happens."

The city mayor, Robert Craft, worries that BP won't be here for the long term when it comes to clean-up. He said tar balls are still washing up on the beach.

"It's become more difficult here lately in that they are wanting to pull out and go, and they are working closely with the Coast Guard on these shoreline cleanup recommendations that the Coast Guard is supposed to be protecting us from," Craft said. "It seems to be not working to our benefit but working towards BP's benefit."

Despite that, this tourist town appears to have weathered a disaster that could have crippled the city for years.

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