Once Vilified, BP Now Getting Credit For Tourism Boom

With the Memorial Day holiday here, fallout from the oil spill that left Gulf Coast beaches smeared with gooey tar balls and scared away visitors in 2010 is being credited, oddly, with something no one imagined back then: An increase in tourism in the region. Five years after the BP disaster, the petroleum giant that was vilified during heated town hall meetings for killing a way of life is now being praised by some along the coast for spending more than $230 million to help lure visitors back to an area that some feared would die because of the spill. Questions remain about the long-term environmental impacts of the BP disaster, with a report released just last week finding a definite link between the spill and a record die-off of the bottlenose dolphins that tourists love to spot along the northern Gulf Coast. Pockets of oil still blot the sea floor and spots along Louisiana's coast.