Gulf Coast hopes for post-spill boom from retirees
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - For all the oil spill claims and cleanup work by BP, retirees from the North may be the best survival bet for some Gulf Coast resort towns this winter.
After a disastrous summer tourism season and a slower-than-normal fall, Northern and Midwestern visitors known as "snowbirds" already are flocking along the Gulf for the winter, filling up condominium parking lots and campgrounds with cars and RVs from states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.
This year, snowbirds are critical for the companies and property owners who have suffered for months because of the BP oil spill. Without the snowbirds, some businesses teetering on the edge of solvency may not make it until the weather warms up again.
Tony Kennon is mayor of Orange Beach on the Alabama-Florida state line. He says businesses there are banking on a solid winter season.