This week we have our first quarter statewide tourism meetings. Each quarter tourism professionals, attractions, parks, hoteliers, festival planners and others who make their living from tourism meet as part of various planning organizations. Each organization contributes to the success of tourism as partners to the other organizations. To reduce travel costs and to fit everyone’s very busy schedules we have all the various meetings during the same two day meeting four times a year. Not everyone attends all meetings but everyone is invited. I go to all of them because they each have a separate function that is critical to the overall process of planning our local tourism plans. Since I will be making the trip anyway, it makes since to me to be involved in each meeting.
The organizations that meet each quarter each have a different function in tourism but they all roll up to become part of the big picture. Here are the organizations:
1-Alabama Department of Tourism and Travel-our state organization, Lee Sentell is Director.
2-Alabama Tourism Partners (ATP)
3-Alabama Travel Council (ATC)-Brochure distribution-Event planner for the annual Alabama Governors Conference and the Legislative Bash.
4-Alabama Association of Destination Marketing Organization (AADMO)-consists of all the states Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVB’s) and all Destination Marketing Organizations like DeKalb Tourism and the membership organizations like Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. AADMO also is the host organization for the annual tourism education scholarships that are given to qualified college students studying tourism-hospitality and culinary. These are awarded at our annual Governor’s Conference.
Over the last two years I served as President of AADMO and I currently serve as secretary of ATC. I have been on the planning committee for the annual Legislative Bash and for the Governor’s Conference each year.
Alabama is a very close knit group of tourism professionals and organizations that network ideas and processes that help each others area become more successful in our local communities. I feel this constant contact internally with our industry partners accounts for much of the reason Alabama as a state has more than doubled the amount of money spent by tourists in less than ten years. Our networking of marketing and promotion plans make each area of Alabama visible to our potential visitors via social media, web presence, TV, radio and print ads that are layered to be seen within the state for travel, but these are also seen nationwide and in some cases internationally.
Governor Bentley and the First Lady greatly support tourism and they are almost always at our Legislative Bash and the Governors Conference. Last year Mrs. Bentley, in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of our Alabama State Parks, visited many of our parks to help promote these beautiful and very popular tourist attractions in our state. Mrs. Bentley came to DeSoto S.P. and visited with Ken Thomas and staff. She also made her way around to some of our local attractions. Tourism is big business; in fact it is the state of Alabama’s largest non agricultural money maker and employer.
I am thankful to work in tourism in Alabama where everyone works together to make Alabama a great vacation destination.