Reported By Dennis Ferrier
NASHVILLE, Tenn.Middle Tennessee's summer playground is being threatened by the oil spill.
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The Florida Panhandle is the No. 1 spot for a summer beach vacations for people in the mid-state area. But since the region is currently threatened by the massive spill, vacationers arent sure whether to cancel their vacation and risk losing their deposit or gamble and head south to the Gulf.
Currently Destin, Rosemary Beach, Seagrove and Seaside have not been affected and still have their famous pristine sugar-white beaches.
But just 47 miles to the west, oil is showing up on Pensacola Beach. This is making some people feel a little uneasy about making the long trip.
Travel agent Genie Herron of Herron Travel said Gulf business owners are afraid of losing money and are taking some unheard-of steps.
Some of them are discounting their prices, which is rare. There is a very loose cancellation policy, which is rare, said Herron.
For the first time in recent memory, many property owners are offering late refunds.
Channel 4 anchor Jennifer Johnson is currently wrapping up a vacation in Destin. She said merchants are experiencing about a 25 percent decrease in business, even though the beaches east of Pensacola are unaffected.
We were in a position where we really didn't have a choice. If we didnt watch the news, we wouldn't even know there was an oil spill. Its just as crowded as ever, and the beaches look amazing, said Johnson.
But what will the situation be by July?
Destin officials said its possible that oil could hit the beach in 48 hours, but no one can really project beyond that.
Herron said she is seeing 30 percent discounts for July reservations at many nice properties that rarely have discounts this month.
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