Bad Press Not Oil Threatening Emerald Coast Vacation Properties - Real Estate - Property Management

Bad Press, Not Oil, Threatening Emerald Coast Vacation Properties   by Karrie Rose

in Real Estate / Property Management    (submitted 2010-05-20)

It appears as though media-hype is tainting the pristine beaches of Florida's Emerald Coast long before any landfall of oil. If the oil slick does reach NW Florida, which authorities are still unable to predict, the effects on the tourism industry will be nothing less than devastating. Unfortunately, for those with rental properties, apprehensive tourists are succumbing to media reports that Florida's beaches will be destroyed and they are cancelling their trips to the area. As one tourism operator puts it, "Right now the only disaster in Pensacola has been the bad PR that we've got".

May is traditionally the beginning of peak season for tourism on the Emerald Coast, the time when they generate enough revenue to carry them through the rest of the year. If indeed the oil does arrive, the money lost now could be the difference between staying afloat or drowning, prompting tourism operators from Pensacola to Panama City to scramble into damage control mode.

A number of campaigns have already begun in an effort to encourage tourists to keep their plans to visit the area. The Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau is hoping to entice visitors by offering a $200 travel credit towards future stays at select properties if the oil spill disrupts their visit. Likewise, major resorts such as the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort are revamping their policy to allow travelers 24 hr cancellation notice versus the previous 60 day stipulation.

In the wake of the recent real estate crash, investment property owners have seen the value of their rental properties and primary residences plummet and many will not be able to withstand another hit. Until now an investment property served as a safety net, with rental revenue covering ownership costs, but if rentals disappear and the oil disaster hits hard, the property will essentially have little or no value. This will leave the owner with no choice but to foreclose.

Any way you slice it, the massive oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon will have far-reaching effects on the environment and the economy. Whether or not the slick reaches the shores of Florida's Emerald Coast a considerable amount of economic damage has already occurred in the tourism industry. The owners and operators of vacation properties will struggle as bookings plummet and local businesses will suffer equally.

Obviously, nobody wants to see the mess wash up on the pristine beaches; however, if it does another opportunity may present itself. If cleanup efforts are necessary there will be an influx of trained workers and volunteers arriving in the area. All of these visitors will require lodging and services and may help to lessen the blow of one of the worse disasters we have ever seen.