Despite Oil Spill, More Tourists Visiting Florida

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" helped draw tourists to Florida, even as the oil spill drove them away.
TAMPA (2010-8-23) -

It's been assumed that oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill would scare away tourists. But Florida is reporting increased tourism during the oil spill.

New figures show a 3.4 percent increase in visitors in the second quarter over the same period last year.

State tourism officials credit a $25 million ad campaign, paid for by BP.

Brian Martin of the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau has another answer: Harry Potter.

The new Harry Potter theme park, based on the popular book and film series about the young wizard, opened at Universal Studios Orlando in June.

“Obviously Harry Potter had an effect on that as well. We know those hotels around Universal were extremely busy for the two months around the opening,” Martin said.

But it's different in the Florida panhandle, the only area in the state where oil landed ashore. Tourism officials there say business is still down – and they expect BP to make up the difference.

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