U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) announced today that he has asked British Petroleum to increase its pledge of $25 million to $75 million to help promote Florida’s tourism.
Meek, a candidate in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, said during a telephone press conference that he has written BP CEO Tony Hayward to ask for the money, which he says would be used to help curb the national “perception” that oil is on the state’s beaches.
“Twenty five million is a drop in the bucket, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
He noted that lodging and fishing reservations had dropped by 70 percent in the past two weeks in the Panhandle and by 15 percent on Florida’s West Coast.
VISIT Florida had already requested an emergency fund of $35 million to help with the damaged tourism market, but Meek said recent figures have shown that it won’t be nearly enough.
“It’s going to cost between $96 to $100 million (to properly promote Florida’s tourism during the crisis). BP makes over $600 million per day, we’re only asking for four hours of revenue,” he said.