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Date of Issue: May 08, 2010

Tourism message: Beaches are ‘open’

Tourism officials across the state, including industry representatives in Manatee County, are spreading a message: Florida beaches are clean and safe.

Tourism officials joined in a conference call organized by the Florida Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau recently to discuss monitoring the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon well off the coast of Louisiana and also the state’s message to vacationers, as well as press coverage.

“We’re closely monitoring all press coverage of the disaster both home and abroad to keep close tabs on all messaging relating to the spill,” read a statement from the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And to ensure the distribution of accurate visitor information regarding possible local impact of this spill, we have developed a short statement.”

That statement read, “Florida has more than 2,200 miles of coastline in all — including the Bradenton area’s 27 miles of white sand beaches — and like the vast majority of Florida destinations, all of our accommodations, restaurants and attractions remain 100 percent open for business.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard has set up a unified command center in St. Petersburg for regional planning in the event the area is impacted by the oil spill.

Manatee County Emergency Management is involved, along with many other government agencies, as well as partner organizations and corporations.

A statement from Manatee County Emergency Management read, “Manatee County has not experienced any impact from the spill and there has been no impact to public safety or wildlife. Coastal areas, beaches and local fishing areas are all safe for residents and visitors.”