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May 11, 2010 6:35 PM by Kate Mundy

Oil Threatens Businesses That Rely on Tourism

Businesses that rely on tourists to make a living on the Louisiana coast are worried that the oil spill will threaten their livelihoods. It's already imposing costs on Cypremort Point businesses.

Charter Captain Devin Legnon is normally headed 70 miles out to catch snapper with tourists, but his "Cypremort Charters" boat is staying docked these days. "I should have at least a couple dozen already booked, I have one," said Legnon.

Offshore fishing is suffering, as potential tourists turn on their televisions and see the nasty brown slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Everybody sees what's going on, they just don't want to spend the time and money to come down and then not be able to go," said Legnon.

The Bayview Inn at Cypremort Point relies on tourists. It's the only spot in town to get a hot meal, beer and gas. But as the oil spill moves west, manager Michael Olander is adjusting his plans. "I was about to upgrade all my fishing tackle, not knowing what the oil is gonna do, do I invest that type of money," asked Olander.

Vermilion Bay is still open for shrimping and recreational fishing, but if it closes, times could get tough. "It would shut us down," said crab buyer Billy Landry.

"It will be bad for us, I mean this weekend, we probably went through 2,500 gallons of fuel that's from everybody fishing and going boat riding so I would lose a lot of money," said Olander.

Property owners worry that sales will cease and values plummet. But they're not feeling the affects yet.

Meanwhile, cabin rentals at Cypremort Point State Park gave been unaffected by the oil spill, although officials said reservations were made over a year ago.

Business owners say, with waters still oil free in the bay, tourists need to know one important thing, there's no oil here. "Until they shut us down, we're still open for business," said Legnon.

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