TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Gulf coast vacationers are crossing their fingers against an oncoming black tide. It is true, there are still plenty of beautiful gulf beaches and pristine coastlines, but for how long?
"First, I wasn't really concerned about it because I didn't think it would come around," said Patrick Deen. A faithful Florida vacationer, Deen is now eyeing his Key Largo vacation a bit more anxiously. "It is what it is," he said. " I don't know how you clean up millions and millions of gallons of oil."
Unfortunately, it appears not many people do - including the ones in charge, whose choices affect travel agent Sharon Howell daily.
"Every day that goes by where they aren't arresting the oil spill, that's concerning to the travel industry," she said.
The billion dollar business boosting local economies is already being affected. Early Tourism reports hotel cancellation rates as high as 50% - a statistic benefiting consumers.
"Some of the hotels are bringing more to the table," said Howell. "They're offering people a free night with so many nights booked so there is always a silver lining in every situation."
Sandestin Resort in Florida provides peace of mind with a live beach web cam and reassures customers with a new 24-hour cancellation policy. The concessions help convenience, but the Deen family says Key Largo will happen ooze or oil slick.
"If it hits the Keys, my plans won't change," said Deen. "We're still planning on doing a lot of water sports down there."
"We don't want it to give everyone the impression that the entire gulf coast area doesn't have one good beach left for there summer vacation because that's certainly not the case," said Howell.
It offers clean sand, surf, and sun for now.