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Volcano ash could cost NYC tourism $250 million

Fallout from the ash coughed into the atmosphere by a volcano in Iceland - stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers - could cost New York $250 million, a spokesman for NYC & Company, the city's tourism arm, told The Associated Press.

Ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano has already grounded thousands of international flights and Monday closed most European airports for a fifth day.

A quick scan of international flights scheduled to depart Monday from Kennedy Airport and Newark-Liberty showed many had been canceled, while still others remained on the board.

An 8:05 a.m. American Airlines codeshare flight with El Al and Mexicana to London was canceled, as was a British Airways flight to London at 8:40 a.m. Evening flights to Zurich, Paris, Milan, London, Brussels, Dublin and Shannon also had been canceled at Kennedy.

However, while carriers out of Newark had shown cancellations of evening flights to Geneva, Brussels, Berlin, London, Zurich, Amsterdam, Milan, Dublin and Birmingham, England, flights bound for Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow, Frankfurt, Oslo and Shannon remained on the board - and were listed as on time.

It was unclear, however, if they would remain on time as the day progressed or if they, too, were in jeopardy of being canceled due to conditions.

Certainly major tourism centers, such as New York City, were already beginning to feel the impact. Marjan Inbar of NYC & Company, told The Associated Press international tourists make up 20 percent of visitors to New York - but that they account for half of all tourism spending.

Organizers of the TriBeCa Film Festival say some directors and actors may not be able to make it to New York. The festival starts Wednesday.

Millions of travelers around the world have been affected.

NYC & Company has been working to help stranded visitors find discounted hotels and low-cost activities.

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