Florida hotels fend off concerns about oil spill; offer volunteer programs for cleanup efforts

As news of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill continues, Florida businesses are working to reassure travelers it’s safe to visit the Sunshine State.

Environmentalists, scientists and engineers are working on solutions to stop the spill, and now Florida hotels are jumping in to help rebuild the disastrous effects the spill has had on tourism to the area. While the BP oil spill has been somewhat contained to a section of the coast, the entire state of Florida has weathered the storm of panic from travelers. Lemon Tree Inn, for example, has had cancellations due to the oil spill but the hotel’s location in Naples, Fla. is no where near the oil spill.

So, what’s the reality of the spill? There’s no denying that the oil spill is a huge environmental issue, but the good news is that many of Florida’s beaches aren’t affected, which means travelers should think twice before canceling their vacation plans.

Hotels in the Florida Keys like Ocean Key Resort and Little Palm Island Resort are using their Facebook pages to update travelers and guests on the status of nearby beaches. Little Palm, for example, has posted photos of their beaches on Big Pine Key, and even included snapshots of guests swimming and kayaking in the water. Representatives from Lemon Tree Inn tell me that if the oil hits, the hotel will create a volunteer package for guests to help the cleanup efforts.

Meanwhile, some Florida hotels are already hosting volunteer packages to aid in the cleanup efforts. Morgans Hotel Group in South Beach is offering 25 percent off to guests who volunteer with the oil spill cleanup efforts. Contribute at least 20 hours to a local environmental group working with the oil spill and you’ll get 25 percent off at South Beach Mondrian, Delano and Shore Club. All volunteers who book under this package will also experience their discounted stay green-style in a carbon balanced room. Mondrian Delano & Shore Club have purchased renewable energy from EarthEra® who will carbon balance every room booked under this special. Every penny spent with EarthEra® is used to build more renewable energy facilities across the nation.

Want to help? To volunteer call 866.448.5816.