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What's being said by business owners and tourists on the Gulf Coast.

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"It looks like it’s going to be okay, even as bad as the spill was. And next year should get a lot better, provided we do not have any more hurricanes hit us. People are still concerned about eating our seafood. What convinces them most of them time is if we take them out on our airboat tours and show them the wildlife and the alligators. They see that there’s no oil on anything. You’d have to go another 45 to 50 miles south of here to even get close to seeing any oil. [But on the Gulf Coast] there’s a lot of tar balls still out there. Friends of mine are still running airboats down there picking up some of the animals with oil on them." Lynn Landry, airboat operator, McGee’s Landing Atchafalaya Basin Swamp Tours, Henderson, La.

Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

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"Last summer hurt. Attendance was down practically by half. People were scared to come to Florida because of the oil spill. What they got to realize is the spill didn’t come this far. But I don’t hear people talking about it any more. That’s yesterday’s news now. It’s kind of like water under the bridge." Beverly Douds, lighthouse keeper, Cape San Blas, Fla.

Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

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"You assume that some people that didn’t come back here last year found some place else that they enjoyed and might go back there instead. But beyond that, I’m proud of what we’ve got here. It’s worked out very well for 40 years. The beaches are beautiful." Michael Canaday, general manager, Harpoon Harry’s restaurant, Panama City Beach, Fla.

Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

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"BP has really responded to the tourism industry’s needs with recovery funds. My parish received $500,000. That’s a lot, because normally we would only collect $400,000 in occupancy tax. So we got a year’s worth of revenue, you could say, to assist us. We need it to do marketing, because we’re not getting the visitors. We say all the time, it’s hurricanes, the economy, the oil spill, what else? But there’s one thing about the Cajun spirit here: Generations have taught us to survive. We’ll survive. We have no doubt." Fran Thibodeaux, executive director, Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, La.

Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

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"The oil spill actually increased tourism a little bit. People who would otherwise go to the beach instead came to New Orleans. So, from a tour guide’s perspective, it actually made things better. I’m not worried about the seafood. I just figure it’s a very big gulf, and even with oil in it, I don’t think many of our fish were dumb enough to eat it." Mary Lacoste, tour guide, New Orleans, La.

Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

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"It’s terrible. I was fishing for three hours and caught only two stingrays. But with the oil here, even if I had caught something, I would have thrown it away. The fish won’t be good to eat." Charles Carter, North Carolina fisherman in Fort Morgan, Ala.

Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

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