To understand the financial impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs), the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Water Resources Team worked with economists at the Balmoral Group. The project quantified the linkages between economic outcomes and Gulf of Mexico coastal health. The team focused on six metro areas along Florida’s gulf coast – Lee, Collier, Pinellas, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, and Hillsborough counties.

Data analyzed included economic metrics connecting Florida red tide events to tourism, housing sales, and fishing activity. The metrics were supplemented with Google search trends and social media posts about red tides. They learned the events highly correlated with how customers canceled hotel rooms, dinner reservations, and fishing trips. Even on days when no red tide was present based on water sampling, news stories and social media shares affected customer behavior.

The team compiled their results with GIS data and created an enhanced temporal resolution of HAB data impacts. Access the online dashboard with the detailed information represents this information.