Alabama tourism set for another record year with summer months ahead

Published 10:17 am Monday, June 3, 2024

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By Paul DeMarco | Guest Columnist

When we think of what is the backbone of the Alabama economy, you might think of both agriculture and auto manufacturing. Yet, as we move into June and the summer months, one of Alabama’s other economic engines is tourism.

Whether it is the Gulf of Mexico, the rivers and lakes or the southernmost hills of the Appalachian Mountains, few states have the diversity of topography that Alabama has to offer outdoor enthusiast.

Tourism in Alabama brought in some $23.5 billion in the year 2023. And out of the past five years, four of those years have risen by $1 billion from the increase in tourism.  What generated the record dollars? It is estimated that some 28 million visitors came to enjoy what Alabama has to offer.

Of course, with hot weather, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island attract even more visitors from throughout the country. With the announcement by Gov. Kay Ivey of the purchase of the Foley Beach Express Bridge, removal of the tolls and a new bridge coming trips to the beach even be easier with less traffic congestion and better access to the Gulf.

There is also a new emphasis on improving Alabama’s trails which draw hikers to some of the most diverse topography in the country. With better signage, maintenance  and extensions of current off road trails the state’s reputation as a backcountry mecca is growing.

Add in hunting, fishing, golfing and agri-tourism, 2024 looks to beat records for the number of both in-state and out of state tourist who will take advance of what Alabama has to offer.

So as folks start making their way to Alabama to visit, it will continue to benefit the citizens with the revenue produced for state government and businesses.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on X formerly Twitter at @Paul_DeMarco