Tracking the spill: A holiday weekend to forget By Gay Nagle Myers / July 06, 2010 Share 1 -- ● Amid oil spill fears, would-be Gulf vacationers head elsewhere ● Oil cleanup crews look to get back to work● Expedia offers marketing support● Gulf Coast may seek $500M in tourism marketing funds from BP ● With new ads, New Orleans aims to avoid oil spill fallout ● Updates, education part of Gulf states' marketing strategies● Miami gets marketing money to fight oil perceptionsThe July 4 weekend was pretty much a tourism bust for the Gulf Coast communities impacted by the oil spill. Fireworks displays were canceled. Beaches that should have been crowded with sunbathers were dotted with cleanup workers and sand-sifting equipment. Tar balls have now hit every state along the Gulf Coast. Globby patties linked to the spill reached into Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans and hit the beaches near Galveston, Texas, over the weekend. Winds and high waves continued to hinder cleanup operations from last week’s Hurricane Alex. Oil is still on the move, but the fleet of skimmers tapped to clean the worst-hit areas of the Gulf of Mexico is not. A string of storms has made the water too choppy for the boats to operate for more than a week off Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Marriott is the latest hotel chain to jump in with a variety of incentives and options in case of a beach closure due to the oil spill. The Marriott Beach Guarantee, valid through Labor Day, offers a hotel credit valued at 50% of the room rate to guests who stay for each day a beach is officially closed.