Martin County tourism officials predict fewer tourists for Labor Day weekend

STUART, Fla.

Martin County Tourism Officials say they are prepared to see a drop in out of town visitors this Labor Day weekend, as dirty water ways are making visitors look for cleaner options.

Ever since signs were posted along the St. Lucie River warning people to stay out of the water, Rozeta Mahboubi with the Martin County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, has been keeping track of the effects of the water on river-based businesses.

So far, the data has not been all good. For example, Mahboubi says businesses like Lady Stuart Deep Sea Fishing are down $13,000 compared to what they made this time last year.

Some kayak and boat rental companies are reporting more than 20 group cancelations.

A river-side hotel reported that 30% of interested callers choose not to book.

Mahboubi says if this is an on-going trend, Labor Day weekend may not be as profitable for some businesses as toxic water is unappealing to Floridians.  "Especially this time of year, because a lot of the business comes from within the state of Florida, and the drive market, and they're the ones who have heard about it."

Mahboubi says it will take time to calculate the exact impact of the toxic water on Labor Day business.

She does say, however, that businesses that cater to ocean activities should still see steady business.

She mentions that some of those hotels, and those along the I-95 corridor have seen an increase in bookings when state leaders come into town.

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