Clearwater's Mayor Hibbard takes on oil spill, tourism
Testifying before a congressional committee in New Orleans, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard had a message: Local tourism is taking a major hit from the BP oil spill, even though tar balls haven't washed up on our shores.
Speaking with a BP official after the meeting, Hibbard had a message for the oil company: Why not send some advertising money to local tourism officials, instead of just sending it to the state of Florida?
"I'm still concerned about the fact that people don't understand where the oil is and where it is not," Hibbard said in an interview. "We're losing bookings. Event planners aren't coming to Florida.
"In some areas of Great Britain and Germany, Florida has been taken off the tourism map until the threat has receded."
David DeCamp, Times staff writer