Hotels deal with Better Business Bureau complaints from tourists over red tide

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FILE: Fort Myers Beach Pier. Credit WINK News

While there’s fewer dead fish washing ashore in Southwest Florida, businesses are still being impacted to the tune of millions of dollars.

Tourists say cancelling reservations is sometimes hard, so.. What can you do?

Dina Galanis, a tourist from Canada visiting Sanibel said, “I don’t like the smell. I don’t want to end up with any rashes. So I’m just trying to stay away.”

Dead fish on our shores are keeping some tourists out of the water and out of hotels.

Jacki Liszak, with the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce has also seen the change in occupancy rates, “I can tell you that we’ve seen continued cancellations, going on and a continued downturn in business in general.”

Some people are braving the red tide water while others tried to cancel but ran into problems.

Michael Bathalon, a tourist from chicago said he was left in the dark on the issue, “There’s no communication about what was going on. We had to find it out on our own.”

According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints against businesses because of red tide are increasing, bu as a consumer it’s important to know your rights.

According to Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, establishments aren’t required to issue refunds to prepaid reservations.

The BBB says it’s best to review the hotel’s terms and conditions before booking. And if you have a problem – communication with business is key.

Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel alone have lost millions in revenue due to the red tide.
The Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce says you should monitor conditions before cancelling your trip.

“If your vacation isn’t for a number of weeks or even months out, there’s no reason to cancel right today,” Liszak said.

As for tourists like Galanis though— they’re just doing their best to have a good vacation, “We thought we’d stick it out and give it a try.”

Fort Myers Beach is updating their beach conditions daily on the chambers website.

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