September 3, 2010 / 1:36 PM / 8 years ago

Oil spill will not impact Florida tourism: poll

A swimmer stands at the edge of the surf on Pensacola Beach, Florida, June 4, 2010. REUTERS/Colin Hackley

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The BP oil spill that spewed millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico is unlikely to deter travel to Florida and Louisiana for the rest of the year, a new poll showed.

Bookings to the Sunshine State are strong and Orlando and cruises to the Caribbean are the most popular domestic and international destinations according to the survey by Travel Leaders, a leading corporate travel management company.

“While business throughout the Gulf coast region has been severely impacted all summer by the devastating oil spill, our survey demonstrates that there is real hope for the entire region in the upcoming months when tourism there perennially begins to rise,” said Roger E. Block, the president of the Travel Leaders Franchise Group.

Eighty percent of the 415 travel franchise owners questioned in the poll said there was no impact on their autumn Florida bookings and 90 percent said the same about Louisiana.

Despite the sluggish economy, nearly three quarters of the travel experts expressed optimism about the remainder of 2010.

When asked where most travelers were going, 52 percent said Orlando, while slightly less named Las Vegas. New York City, Honolulu and Kahului, both in Hawaii, rounded out the top five destinations.

For people traveling abroad after Caribbean cruising, Cancun and Riviera May in Mexico, cruising in the Mediterranean and Rome were top choices, followed by London and Montego Bay in Jamaica.

Many franchise owners credited the stronger dollar for the increase in international bookings.

Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Paul Casciato

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