Alabama’s tourism industry is booming, official says
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Tourists are packing their bags to visit Alabama’s Gulf Coast and its attractions. The Alabama Department of Tourism has seen strong growth.
“Alabama is a place people love to visit,” said tourism department director Lee Sentell.
The tourism expert explained that people return year after year as the industry soars.
“Tourism has grown by $1 billion a year, with one million more people than the previous year, for five of the past six years,” Sentell added.
He thinks Alabama is a friendly state with moderately priced destinations.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the tourism industry was hit hard. Nationwide tourism was down 45% in 2020. Sentell notes that Alabama was down only 20%.
“It’s because people like to come to the beaches of Alabama. They love our state parks. They like the other activities,” he said.
Large crowds are expected this Memorial Day weekend along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
“Room accommodations, reservations are up,” said Orange Beach city administrator Ken Grimes. “People are heading, ready to go out again. We are ready for summer.
Travelers will see higher prices at the pump, but the state doesn’t think the cost of gas will deter too many people.
“People who come from the furthest distances, maybe we won’t have as many people from Michigan and Indiana as we had in the past, but we’re still going to do very well,” said sentel.
He said part of the state’s success came from the $10 million the governor provided to the Alabama Department of Tourism for tourism and economic recovery.
This money was invested in advertisements on each county.
That’s why Alabama ranked as Google’s fifth most searched state, Sentell said.
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