|by Sean O'Neill||Florida||5|
For a month now, we've been watching TV images of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This weekend, we saw images of the tentacles of the pollutants washing onto some of Louisiana's shores. So it's understandable that many vacationers have been worried about their summer trips to the region.
But the state of Florida, which is about 100 miles from the leak, is still in wonderful shape. Florida's white-sand beaches and crystal blue waters are clean and untouched.
Yesterday, Florida Governor Charlie Crist told reporters:
"Things look good for the Memorial Day weekend. I've been out on the beaches in the panhandle, I'll be out there again later today. I was in Miami just yesterday morning. The beaches are beautiful. The water is clean. The restaurants are open. The hoteliers are anxious for people to come down and the fish are biting. So it's a good time to come to Florida. Please come down Memorial Day weekend."
The governor added that things look good so far for the rest of the summer, saying that officials "really don't know" if and when oil might ever wash up on our shores.
Today, Florida opened its new Panama City airport, which is the country's first international airport to open since the 1990s and which we blogged about recently. But ticket sales for Southwest have been below expectations because tourists are worried about the oil slick.
Florida state is launching a TV campaign to get the word out about its clean beaches. Oil company BP has pledge $25 million to help with the PR blitz.
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