BP to Give County $500K to Promote Tourism, Seafood

Due to lingering negative perceptions of the Gulf seafood industry following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP will give Pinellas County money to help promote a local seafood festival and an episode of "Emeril's Florida."

Pinellas County is set to receive $500,000 from BP due to the linger effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

According to county documents, the grant money will go to the Convention and Visitor's Bureau so it can "conduct two major programs: to dispel negative Gulf seafood impression and generate tourism to Pinellas County."

"While tourism has rebounded in the two years since the 'Deepwater Horizon' oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, the local seafood industry has not. Despite repeated statements from scientists that Gulf of Mexico seafood is safe to eat, the perception still persists that Gulf seafood is tainted."

The two programs the CVB will be promoting with marketing dollars are The St. Petersburg & the Bay Area Food and Wine Festival and the "Emeril's Florida" TV show. 

The food and wine festival, according to county documents, is a three-day event that will showcase Gulf seafood, wine, fine art and music.

"Emeril's Florida" will do a 30-minute episode on the Cooking Channel with chef Emeril Lagasse focusing on fresh Gulf seafood. It will air three times during 2013 and three more times in 2014.

Pinellas County applied for the grant money in October 2012, filing to the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center. The agreement runs through Nov. 30.  

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