West Coast officials tell tourists not to worry about fires

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Alarmed by as much as $20 million in lost tourism revenue last month over visitors’ fears of wildfires, California tourism officials are teaming up with Oregon and Washington state to reassure tourists that it’s safe to visit.

The three states said Thursday that they formed the West Coast Tourism Recovery Coalition to encourage tourism. All three have faced massive wildfires and skies clogged with smoke this summer.

But officials say less than 1 percent of the states’ combined area has been affected by fires this year.

Tourists spend an estimated $166 billion annually in the three states. California officials say a survey found $20 million in canceled trips in July due to wildfires.

In Oregon, industry officials say $51 million in tourism revenue was lost last year because of wildfires.