The Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission reached a $61,363 settlement with BP for tourism losses linked to the 2010 Gulf oil spill, LCVC President and CEO Ben Berthelot said Tuesday.
BP agreed to a tentative settlement earlier this month to pay the federal government, Louisiana and four other states a total of $18.7 billion in a massive class-action lawsuit seeking damages connected to the spill.
LCVC’s share was carved from a reserve of $1 billion available for local governments and other public agencies across the Gulf Coast.
The local tourism bureau will pay $9,204 of its $61,363 settlement to the attorneys who negotiated the deal on contingency and keep $52,159, which will likely roll into the advertising budget, Berthelot said.
He said the Acadiana tourism market suffered larger losses linked to the spill, but the LCVC board agreed to the settlement to avoid lengthy and costly litigation. “It would have been a long and drawn-out process,” Berthelot said.
LCVC already has received $1 million over the past two years from a fund BP established for tourism promotions in Gulf Coast communities impacted by the spill.
That money helped pay for the “Have You Tasted LafaYETte?” campaign, which included television advertising in the Houston market, print ads and billboards in Texas, Alabama and Mississippi, Berthelot said.
Visit Baton Rouge, the tourism bureau for the Baton Rouge area, agreed to a roughly $65,000 settlement with BP earlier this month — $45,000 for the agency and $19,500 for attorney and accountant fees.
Several public entities in Acadiana have pending claims in the BP case, including Lafayette City-Parish Government; the Acadia Parish School Board; Franklin; St. Mary Parish government; the St. Mary Parish School Board; and the Twin Parish Port District in Delcambre.
Follow Richard Burgess on Twitter @rbb100.