UCF researchers estimate cost to tourism of 2018 red tide at $2.7 billion
A new study from the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management has found that the loss to tourism-related businesses due to the 2018 Florida red tide bloom is estimated at approximately $2.7 billion.
The research, performed in collaboration with the University of South Florida and Florida A&M University, was recently published in the
Journal of Environmental Management. The work offers a profound understanding of the economic impacts of harmful algae blooms (HABs) on Florida’s tourism sector.
One of the most striking conclusions of the study is the relationship between the severity of red tide blooms and their economic impact on tourism.
Contrary to expectations, the study reveals that low concentrations of red tide can have disproportionate economic impacts compared to more intense blooms.
This finding underscores the importance of how red tide information is communicated and perceived, influencing its economic fallout.
“The magnitude of losses from red tide show how important it is for the Federal and State governments to allocate appropriate resources for response and recovery to harmful algae blooms in our coastal communities,” says Sergio Alvarez, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at Rosen College.
“In addition, coastal tourism businesses should consider harmful algae as a very real risk to the economic sustainability of their operations,” he says. “It is essential that we find appropriate risk management tools for individuals, businesses, and communities that may suffer the economic impacts of harmful algae blooms.”