Towns attract tourists

We’re thankful for the 23 million tourists that visited Alabama last year, as well as for the $9.6 billion they left behind for the state’s use.

Obviously, that tourism money is essential to helping our state continue to run smoothly. Right now, we need all the financial help we can get.

Gov. Bob Riley is doing his best to help the state’s tourism efforts out by coming up with an innovative idea for 2010, “Small Towns and Downtowns,” designed to feature Alabama’s historical small towns. The governor’s office is asking towns and cities across Alabama to plan homecoming events in an effort to bring former residents and new friends to the state.

We’d like to encourage Shelby County’s 14 cities and towns to get involved with this movement. Most of our local municipalities have already passed resolutions stating they will participate in the year-long celebration.

We applaud that initial step, and exhort them to continue to see the celebration through. These homecoming events will provide a chance for Shelby County citizens, young and old, to learn more about the history of the towns where they’ve made their homes.

We believe that Shelby County is one of the best places in Alabama to live, and the Small Towns and Downtowns celebrations across the county can only serve to prove us right. Riley wants us to show off “the real Alabama,” so let’s heed his call and show off the real Shelby County.