VALDEZ, Ak (NBC33) - Since the Exxon Valdez Spill in Prince William Sound - the tourism industry in Alaska is back to normal. for the most part - but it wasn't easy.
Stan Stephens has had tour businesses in Valdez for 50 years. He says after the spill - "it was bare survival."
But heavy promotion of the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway by the state slowly brought tourists back in.
Stephens says states all along the gulf coast also need lots of promotion. Stephens says if that doesn't happen "people will forever think of it as an oiled place"
BP has given Louisiana $60 Million in one - time money to help promote tourism. Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne recently announced a new ad campaign called "pick your passion." He tells NBC33 News the BP money will be used widely and will attract visitors from outside the state back to the Coast.
Over 20 years after the spill - the seafood industry in Alaska still hasn't fully recovered. Tuesday on NBC33 News at 10:00, our Assignment: Alaska series continues with a commercial fisherman. How the industry in Alaska is dealing with the "new normal" and how we here in Louisiana can deal with long - term changes.