Study: Algae has impact on tourism

Posted at 1:58 PM, Aug 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 18:25:34-04

Irene Gomes a The Driftwood Motel in Jensen Beach received a troubling letter this week. A family from New Jersey canceled their reservation for 2017, a big financial loss.

"Almost $7,000 loss," says Gomes.

Her story may not be the last.

A new study finds algae blooms are keeping half the number of potential tourists away from the state of Florida.

The study by Black Hills State University and the University of Florida Tourism Crisis Management Initiative shows more than half of people considering a visit are concerned enough to delay travel.

The study also shows of those planning a trip to the Sunshine State, more than 70 percent say they would avoid affected areas like the Treasure Coast.

"Martin County, small counties designated as state of emergency you start seeing a decline in numbers but my point is that mobility of visitors change because of the algae blooms," said Ignatius Cahyanto who conducted the study.

The initiative is also working on a study on Zika's effect on tourism. Cahyanto doesn't expect the numbers to be good.

"I believe that going to be also even greater than the algae itself," says Cahyanto.

He expects the study to be done sometime next week.