TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Gulf coast states are bracing themselves as the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico moves their direction. The oil slick is not only an environmental hazard, but it poses a threat to tourism in these areas. As East Texas families make travel plans to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, travel agents say they may want to make other arrangements.
"We've done Gulf Shores, we've done Destin, and we have gone for 13 years," said Andrea Walker, who's family is planning on going to Florida again this summer. "I grew up with my family, my parents, taking us to Destin."
Memories were made along gulf coast beaches.
"That was my Christmas card that year," said Walker.
They are the same beaches that are being threatened by the giant oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sharon Howell is the president of Travel Masters. She fears hotels and beaches will be impacted by the oil, and another tourism industry may be hit hard.
"That is going to be a new issue for the cruise lines to deal with because we have never had an oil spill that has directly impacted a geographic location where these ships are based and sailing weekly from," said Howell.
Resorts like Gulf Shorts Plantation are already experiencing cancellations.
"We are certainly concerned, and many of our guests are concerned," said Pedro Mandoki, President of Mandoki Hospitality at Gulf Shores Plantation. "Right now, it hasn't gotten here and we are praying it never will."
"I clearly would recommend that if beaches do end up with oil on them, then that is not a preferred environment for a family vacation," said Howell.
Howell says when there is an environmental hazard like an oil spill, hotels, cruise ships, and airlines should be accommodating.
"The airlines usually will adopt a policy about that," said Howell. "That they will allow cancellations or re-scheduling with out the penalty or without the change fee. As long as it can be definitely tied to the oil problem."
Meanwhile, families like the Walkers will vacation as planned.
"It is just such a part of us," said Walker.
The Walkers say they can not turn their back on a place that fills their scrapbooks.