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Summer tourism could be impacted by Wednesday's fuel spill: UBC economist

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – We’re still coming to grips with the fallout of Wednesday’s oil spill but what kind of impact will it have on our city’s tourism this summer? A UBC resource economist thinks it’s more about perception than actual damage.

Even once the spill is completely cleaned up, that impact could linger after says Ngaio Hotte.

“The impacts of the spill on the economy can last from six months to years into the future. It depends on people’s perceptions how people view the impact of that spill. It doesn’t even relate directly to the size of the spill but where it happened and how people view those impacts.”

That’s because even once it’s cleaned up, people might not see it that way explains Hotte. “Are people concerned about going into the water, are they concerned about breathing in fumes, those are the things that really impact the economics of the spill.”

Meaning every business in the area from restaurants to bike rentals could suffer the consequences.

Hotta says it couldn’t have happened in a worse place. “Right in the middle of Vancouver at a public location where people tend to go, where events tend to happen throughout the summer that would be expected to cause an impact to tourism and the local economy

She adds it could also hurt Vancouver’s reputation as the greenest city.