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Disasters Put Hotels on Edge

It’s astonishing to me, given the volume of harrowing news we’ve had to digest in the past several months, that the hotel industry isn’t in worse shape than it is. Headlines jump from one disaster—some natural, some man-made—to another, any of which in years past would have scared even hardy travelers into staying home.

The botched Times Square bombing incident could have been a deadly event that threw the city of New York and its tourism business into a tailspin. Yet, life in this often-described crossroads of the world continued without hardly skipping a beat. News accounts quoted hotel managers in the area saying business was still booming immediately after the attack and since. The oil spill in the Gulf has the potential to literally muck up the summer tourist season along the pristine beaches of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. If, as some scientists believe, winds and currents shift, the danger could spread as far as the Florida Keys and then catch the Gulf Stream and head up the East Coast.

And while there have been initial reports of some cancellations along the Panhandle, I bet the hysteria will abate and the region will have an influx of tourists at levels only slightly below what was expected before the spill. (That could change, however, if for whatever reason the oil washes ashore in force and seriously fouls the beaches.)

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