Sweet Home Saving’s campaign to boost August tourism
• Deadline for 2014 Vacation Guide & Calendar listings is Aug. 1
• Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism is Aug. 17-20 in Huntsville
• Governor’s Mansion to hold benefit cookout for restoration effort
• Alabama Tourism honors retiring Rep. Jo Bonner
• UK office runs competition for Alabama trip
• Huntsville is a best destination for green travelers
• Wildlife tourism is important for the Gulf of Mexico states
• Andrew Zimmern’s Birmingham visit to air on July 29 episode of ‘Bizarre Foods America’
• Six must-try regional barbecue sauces
• Birmingham-area restaurant one of Parade magazine’s top new BBQ joints, owner never knew
• Selling Long Haul features Sweet Home Alabama guide
• Tuscumbia’s “Benches on Parade”
• New multi-use trail system open at Old Cahawba Prairie Forever Wild tract
• Artificial reef program thriving
• Dauphin Island claims ‘Sunset Capitol of Alabama’
• Parsons updates council on Jackson County tourism
• To Demopolis with love: Ogletree leaves lasting legacy
• Sign-up for International Showcase in Nashville
• Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events
Sweet Home Saving’s campaign to boost August tourism
Industry partners can enter their deals for Alabama residents to enjoy during the month of August at restaurants, accommodations, ticketed attractions and gated events as part of a campaign to take advantage of later school year starts. This is an in-state campaign to boost tourism throughout Alabama during August. Enter your deal today to take part in this exciting, free campaign. Visit\portal to take advantage of this free tourism promotion campaign.

Participating is easy.
1. Visit\portal to register your business or organization in the campaign.
2. Enter your special deal. You can select from suggested deals or enter any deal you like. You can update or change your deals as needed. Website visitors will be informed that deals are subject to change, and to “book or reserve now OR call to confirm deals before you travel.”
3. The website and deals will be promoted through a full-scale marketing and advertising campaign this summer. You can benefit from the free promotion of your business and your deals through the Sweet Home Saving™ campaign.

Visit\portal and promote your exciting deals for Alabama residents in Aug.
For questions or more information, write or call (251) 967-7572.

Deadline for 2014 Vacation Guide & Calendar listings is Aug. 1
We look forward to featuring your organization, accommodation, attraction or resource center in the 2014 Sweet Home Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events. To confirm, update or add a listing:
• Log on to the new website,, and either confirm, change or add your listing right then and there.
• The new online listings process, which is more efficient, will save you and the state a great deal of time and money.
• You can review or download the “quick start” guide which walks you through a few easy steps for updating or confirming your existing listing at this site:
• Please take a look at the quick start guide and visit the website to update your listing by Aug. 1.

Updating your listing will take only a few minutes. We hope you appreciate this easy and efficient process.

For any questions, e-mail or call Pam Smith at 334-353-4541.

Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism is Aug. 17-20 in Huntsville
Mark your calendars for the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Aug. 17-20, at the Westin Hotel in Huntsville next to Bridge Street with its’ seventy upscale shops, restaurants, movie theater and spa just footsteps away.

For information and registration, go to:

An Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism Facebook Page has been created. The link to it is If you have a FB account please “like” the page and “share” it on your page and/or invite your friends to like it.

Make a difference by donating to the AGCT Silent Auction to benefit the Alabama Tourism & Hospitality Industry Scholarship Fund
The Silent Auction held during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism benefits the Alabama Tourism & Hospitality Industry Scholarship Fund. The AGCT Silent Auction has risen over $202,000 over the past 20 years. Scholarships are awarded annually to students currently working toward degrees in the field of hospitality, tourism, hotel, culinary or food service management. Students enrolled in four-year colleges/universities must be at least a second semester freshman, but no further along than a second semester junior at time of application. Students from two-year colleges must be at least in their second semester of their first year, but no further along than their first semester of their second year at time of application.

To make a Silent Auction Donation please visit: Scholarships will be awarded during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, August 17-20 at the Westin Huntsville.

Conference registration, full agenda and hotel reservations are available online at:

Wine and Craft Beer Pull scholarship fundraiser
The Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism is bringing back the Wine Pull Fundraiser to the annual conference to be held August 17—20, in Huntsville. Last year more than $2,000 was raised for the Hospitality and Tourism Industry “Scholarship Fund” and the 2013 goal is to double that amount. A Craft Beer Pull is being added to this year’s fundraiser venue.

What is a wine and beer pull?
An opportunity to pay $10 for a bottle of wine or assorted craft beers ranging in value from $20 to $120 or more.

Donate a bottle of wine or craft beer
Please help award more scholarship dollars by donating at least one bottle of wine or craft beer (valued at $20 or more). When you register for the Alabama Governor’s Conference, please commit to donating a bottle of wine, craft beer or a cash commitment. The Alabama Tourism Partnership will be glad to do the shopping for you.

Convenient donation drop-off locations
For your convenience drop-off locations are available in three regions of the State: South, Central, and North. Please contact the Alabama Travel Council directly and we are happy to make pick up arrangements with you.

For more information, contact:, or call (334) 271-0050

Governor’s Mansion to hold benefit cookout for restoration effort
Governor Robert Bentley and First Lady Dianne Bentley will open the Governor’s Mansion for a benefit cookout hosted by The Friends of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion on Tuesday, July 23, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

“Proceeds of the cookout will fund ongoing restoration efforts at the Governor’s Mansion,” said committee member Carol King. “Projects include repairs to the structural framework of the house itself and installation of UV protection on the windows. This will ensure the preservation of the house and its contents for our state’s heritage.”

Alabama-produced food products will be featured on the menu, including Conecuh sausage, Golden Flake potato chips and Blue Bell Ice Cream. Governor Bentley will grill sausage for guests while they enjoy entertainment from Alabama Troubadour Karen Pell. The Governor’s Mansion will be open for tours during the cookout and children’s activities will also be available.

The Governor’s Mansion is a 1907 Colonial Revival house located at 1142 South Perry Street in Montgomery and has served as the official residence for Alabama governors since 1951. The neighboring Hill House became part of the Governor’s Mansion complex in 2003.

The tickets are available for purchase at the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop located at 30 Finley Avenue across from the side entrance of the Governor’s Mansion. Tickets are $50 for adults and $35 for children under the age of 12. This event is sponsored by The Friends of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion and all donations are tax deductible. For more information call the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop at 334-241-8824.

Alabama Tourism honors retiring Rep. Jo Bonner
Alabama’s $10 billion tourism industry will honor retiring congressman Jo Bonner on July 26 for his role as co-chair of the Congressional House Travel & Tourism Caucus during the past three years, state tourism director Lee Sentell says.

The Alabama Travel Council, the state’s private-sector tourism organization, will join the Alabama Tourism Department in paying tribute to Bonner’s leadership, officials said.
Bonner has announced his pending retirement from Congress to accept a position with the University of Alabama.

The reception at the Renaissance Battle House ballroom will begin at 2 p.m. It is open to the public, Sentell said.

UK office runs competition for Alabama trip
The UK office is currently running a marketing campaign with Waitrose Grocery Stores which are a high end grocery chain located nationwide in the UK. Total exposure for the campaign will be 2.4 million people. This is a perfect demographic fit for Alabama and also reinforces the message about The Year of Food. Here is a link to the competition page which is now ‘live’:

Waitrose attract in excess of 1 Million visitors to their website and competition entrants can opt in to request more information on Alabama. This is also supported by one page of editorial within Waitrose Kitchen Magazine which is one of the leading premium food magazines in the UK with 1.4 million readers.

Huntsville is a best destination for green travelers

by Brent Godwin, Birmingham Business Journal, July 18

TravelNerd has named Huntsville as one of the “Best Destinations for Green Travelers” in the nation.
Here is what TravelNerd has to say about Huntsville:
“Huntsville was named one of the top Green Cities in the U.S. by The Green Guide because of its green initiatives. Operation Green Team was founded in 1977 and is focusing on reducing the amount of electricity and water used by the city buildings by more than $3 million over the next 20 years. Visitors at the Huntsville Botanical Garden will see thousands of native Alabama species such as butterflies, frogs, quail and turtles. Be sure to see Alabama’s state tree, the Dogwood, on the western corridor of the garden – in full bloom, this is not to be missed. Harmony Park Safari offers visitors a chance to see antelope, buffalo, ostriches and crocodiles free-range.”
For a list of other cities on the list, go to:

Wildlife tourism is important for the Gulf of Mexico states
July 22
According to a report that was released by Datu Research, an economic research firm, wildlife tourism in the Gulf of Mexico states is very profitable and generates over $19 billion annually, with over 2.6 million jobs. The work contained in this research report was funded by the Environmental Defense Fund, and received support from Walton Family Foundation.

The wildlife tourism industry, alongside the Gulf Coast economy, is extensively significant to the economy of the region. It heavily depends on the endangered ecosystem of the Gulf Coast in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The entire wildlife industry, covered by this report, entails hunting, recreational fishing, and wildlife watching.

Further to the total annual spending of about $19 billion, the report reveals that the industry attracts 20 million people, generating $5.3 billion through tax revenues, and tourism jobs.
The largest share of spending is about $8 billion and is attributed by recreational fishing whereas the wildlife watching contributes to about $6.5 billion. On the other hand, hunting generates over $5 billion.

Wildlife tourism segment mainly flourishes in Florida with spending over $8 billion, followed by Texas which has over $5 billion. Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana also regard wildlife tourism highly important since the segment yields $2 billion for each of the states.

The total number of visitors attracted by wildlife watching in the Gulf Coast is over 11.6 billion. This is more than any other wildlife activity, and is closely followed by recreational fishing and even hunting. Texas and Florida attract more than 7 million wildlife visitors. The number of visitors for states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama are about 2 million for each.

Another thing highlighted by the report is that the tourism industry creates over 489,256 jobs across the 53 counties, from Texas to Florida. Half of these jobs are based in Florida, whereas 26,294 jobs are created by Mississippi tourism, thus covering about three counties.

The total tax revenue is about $5.3 billion. Out of it, $2.5 billion is both local and state annual revenue. It is important to note that Florida leads the revenue with over $1 billion, followed by Mississippi and its counties with over $209 million.

Andrew Zimmern’s Birmingham visit to air on July 29 episode of ‘Bizarre Foods America’
by Bob Carlton, The Birmingham News, July 11
Globetrotting chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern’s culinary tour of Birmingham will air on the July 29 episode of his Travel Channel show “Bizarre Foods America,” according to a publicist for the show.

Zimmern visited Birmingham in mid-January, and along the way, he devoured oxtails and neck bones at Eagle’s Restaurant, stewed tomatoes and succotash at Niki’s West, barbecue chicken and banana pudding at Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q, braised goat on couscous from the Shindigs Catering food truck and a pigskin noodle bowl at Hot and Hot Fish Club.

And those were just some of his stops. He also visited The Fish Market, Z’s Take Out Restaurant and Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, among other places.

The episode, titled “Birmingham: The New South,” will air at 8 p.m. CDT.
The Birmingham episode is not yet featured on the show’s website,

While he was here, Zimmern told that Birmingham’s” great and vibrant food scene, great stories and great characters” are what interested him in filming an episode of the show here.
“When you are trying to explore cultures through food, I’m not sure there is a better place to do it than the American South,” he said. “And when you look at the American South, especially the Southeast, Birmingham is a city with a story that’s quite remarkable.”
To read the entire article, go to:

Six must-try regional barbecue sauces
by Steven Raichlen, Grilling Authority, Huffington Post’s The Blog, July 19
Tell me the kind of barbecue sauce YOU like, and I’ll make a pretty accurate guess where you live. There are almost as many unique regional barbecue sauces that are as distinctive accents, y’all. Every aspiring pit master should be familiar with them. Or at least know how spill them strategically on his laminated map of the U.S. of A.

This lip-licking road trip across five states highlights six must-try regional barbecue sauces. Are these the only sauces popular in the U.S.? No, for barbecue sauce is a big subject, and you can learn about more regional sauces on my site and in my book Barbecue Bible Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades (Workman Publishing).

Alabama: Visit Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur, Alabama, and you’ll find a style of barbecue that’s sui generis: smoked chicken with white barbecue sauce. Really. The sauce — a piquant combination of mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and black pepper — was invented by local railroad man-turned-pit master, Big Bob Gibson, so the legend goes, for a customer who hated tomatoes. Since 1925, Big Bob’s has been the go-to-place for barbecue in Decatur, and today, his namesake restaurants (there are two) are run by Chris Lilly, husband of Big Bob’s great granddaughter. I know the mayo thing sounds strange, but take my word for it, it’s awesome.

To read the entire article, go to:

Birmingham-area restaurant one of Parade magazine’s top new BBQ joints, owner never knew
by Jared Downing,, July 19
Parade magazine has featured two Birmingham pig shacks in a July cover story celebrating American barbecue. The feature hailed Alabama mainstay Jim ‘N’ Nicks BBQ as one of the country’s excellent barbecue joints and listed Avondale’s newer Saw’s Soul Kitchen in its list of top 17 new barbecue restaurants.

Mike Wilson and Brandon Cain founded Saw’s Soul Kitchen, a comfort food offshoot of Saw’s BBQ, in Avondale in 2012. They had no idea the restaurant had made the list.

“Somebody could have answered and just didn’t tell me,” said Wilson. “They don’t tell me anything.”
The July issue features food writer John T. Edge’s historical account of the fall and rise of barbecue in America, highlighting both large chains and mom-and-pop outfits across the nation.

Jim ‘N’ Nicks has become an Alabama barbecue legend, while Wilson said he prefers to keep his restaurants’ small-time appeal.

“I can’t believe we were in there,” he said. “We just try to do what we do and make people smile, and eventually hope people recognize us for that.”

(Wilson said once Anthony Bourdain called Saw’s Soul Kitchen and requested to visit. Wilson only found out several weeks later.)

Selling Long Haul features Sweet Home Alabama guide

The important tourism trade magazine for travel agents and companies in the United Kingdom, Selling Long Haul, is promoting Alabama’s UK Guide. The story on page 17 of their July-August publication is titled “Sweet Home Alabama within easy reach.”

The copy reads: Agents looking to earn more commission from selling one of the Deep South’s most evocative states should request a copy of Sweet Home Alabama. This compact travel guide highlights the many reasons for building Alabama into a Southern US itinerary, with sections on food, music and entertainment; nature and adventure; and history and culture.

There’s also a ’12 Ways to Experience Alabama’ section and suggested itineraries to help get the best out of a self-drive tour of the state.

Sweet Home Alabama can be ordered by calling 020 8339 6122 or emailing Plus it can be viewed at

Tuscumbia’s “Benches on Parade”
The Tuscumbia Downtown Redevelopment Authority (TDRA), spearheaded by Kerry Underwood, developed the concept of a bench project to enhance downtown street corners. The hope was to draw artists, locals and tourists alike to visit Tuscumbia and see the “Benches on Parade”. As a way of promoting the historic and artistic elements of Tuscumbia, artists are allowed the freedom to design each unique bench to highlight themes significant to our town. Historic themes include Helen Keller, Indian heritage, historical railway, and others. Mediums for artists are brick, iron, stone and other long lasting structural components.

The “Benches on Parade” became an instant tourist attraction with the completion of the first bench. This project is a distinctive way to celebrate both history and art simultaneously. The second bench should be in place by the end of July and benches 3 and 4 should be complete by the end of the year.

The first completed bench in this project is located at the corner of Main Street and 5th Street at the beginning of Tuscumbia’s historic Commercial Row and was sponsored by Shoals Solid Waste Committee. Masonry Contractor Arkie Smith brought not only a professional but a very talented and artistic approach to the brick. His design is perfect, functional and elegant. Artist Tara Bullington-Baker created an exquisite Tuscumbia themed mosaic, complete with a train and water pump. The first mosaic in her career is a huge success; their combined talents and creativity exceeded TDRA expectations and has transformed the corner of 5th and Main.

New multi-use trail system open at Old Cahawba Prairie Forever Wild tract
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) State Lands Division has opened a multi-use trail system at the Old Cahawba Prairie Forever Wild Tract near Selma, Ala. The Old Cahawba Prairie Tract is adjacent to the Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, site of Alabama’s first state capital in Dallas County. The trails are open during daylight hours year-round to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. The trails are free for all users.

The Old Cahawba trail system is comprised of three trails with a combined length of 11.6 miles. The individual trails are: the Federal Trail, 3.7 miles; Cahawba Trail, 6.3 miles; and the Indian Trail, 1.6 miles.

Visitors to the Old Cahawba Prairie tract can also access to the Cahaba River via a canoe launch at the nearby Cahaba River Bridge on AL-22. There is a canoe take out downriver at the Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. The tract is also open to hunting when in season. All hunting season(s) rules and regulations apply.

Directions to the Old Cahawba Prairie Forever Wild Multi-Use Trail System Trailhead: From Selma, take AL-22 West approximately 8.6 miles to Dallas Co. Rd. Turn left on to Co. Rd. 9 and travel approximately 3.3 miles. Turn right on Cahaba Road (Co. Rd. 2) and travel approximately 0.5 miles to arrive at the trailhead parking lot on the right.

In addition to the trailhead parking lot, the Old Cahawba Prairie Tract features two additional parking lots found along Co. Rd. 9. These parking lots allow foot traffic access to the property for users wanting to bird-watch, view wildlife, photograph wildflowers, or hunt. Directions to the Co. Rd. 9 Parking lots: From Selma, take AL-22 West approximately 8.6 miles to Dallas Co. Rd. Turn left on to Co. Rd. 9 and travel approximately 2 miles to the first parking lot on the left. Continue on Co. Rd. 9 for one mile to the second parking lot on the left.

Coordinates for the Trailhead and other property access points:
Multi-Use Trail System Trailhead Co. Rd. 9 North Parking lot Co. Rd. 9 South Parking lot
N 32.305745 N 32.330331 N 32.315455
W -87.136846 W -87.131274 W -87.126041

For more information about the Old Cahawba Prairie Tract and its outdoor opportunities, visit: To learn more about Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, visit:

Artificial reef program thriving
by David Rainer of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,
The Montgomery Advertiser, July 21
Alabama’s artificial reef program in the Gulf of Mexico is unparalleled. In fact, the program is such a success that Orange Beach is known as the “Red Snapper Capital of the World.”

Unfortunately, when the National Marine Fisheries Service declared red snapper “overfished,” it caused the red snapper seasons to become shorter and shorter. The recent red snapper season was only 28 days long.

Searching for expanded opportunities for anglers along the Alabama coast, the Alabama Marine Resources Division started looking for ways to accommodate anglers with more near-shore reefs.
“We’ve been building offshore reefs and inshore reefs for many years,” said Chris Blankenship, marine resources director. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that we have the best reef-building program in the country. We have 1,200 square miles of reef zones with about 17,000 reefs. So all that material has been put out there logically and spread around the whole area. That gives us the best reef fishing in the world.

“With so many reefs offshore, we had the idea that we wanted to build reefs in state waters in the Gulf of Mexico to increase fishing opportunities closer to shore.”

With the boundary of Alabama state waters at 3 miles, the area for the near-shore reefs was limited. Marine resources also had to find areas that would not conflict with other user groups, especially the shrimping industry.

The decision was made to deploy 6-foot-tall pyramids in the areas. About 240 of the pyramids have been placed in the reef zones by winning bidder David Walter (aka Reefmaker). Blankenship said in the corners of each reef zone, additional habitat was deployed.

“We placed disc structures with pilings,” he said. “The discs have limestone rocks that are good habitat for juvenile red snapper and smaller fish. This will give them a place to aggregate and have a place for protection as they grow.”

Although the reefs have only been out from one to two months, Blankenship said fish were already gathering around the pyramids.

“I’ve already been out to fish the new reefs, and there were bait fish around the reefs,” he said. “And I caught some king mackerel trolling above the reefs. We think it’s going to be a great spot for kings, Spanish mackerel and bonita. It will be a good trolling alley, and it will hold red snapper and other reef fish. We also think these will be good locations for sheepshead in the winter and early spring months. These are good size areas with plenty of room to fish.”

Blankenship said if the anglers use the near-shore reefs as he expects, Marine resources will look at other opportunities off Fort Morgan and possibly Dauphin Island.

“The problem is we do have a lot more shrimping activity off Fort Morgan, Sand Island and Dauphin Island,” he said. “It could create some user conflict, but we hope to minimize that.
“We’re hoping this will be successful and give smaller boats places to fish in the Gulf and diversify our fishery from a red snapper fishery to where we have good trolling alleys for kings and Spanish, species that have longer seasons.”

Blankenship said much of the funding for the new reefs came from the Emergency Disaster Relief Program that the state received after Hurricane Katrina. The project also received contributions from the Orange Beach Fishing Association and the Coastal Conservation Association. Coordinates for the new reefs will be posted soon on
Blankenship also said the recent red snapper season in June was a big success.

“The fishing was outstanding,” he said. “The fish were good size, and I enjoyed seeing all the nice fish people were catching. … I want us to manage that fishery so that people will have more than a month to catch them. It was an awesome month, but it was just too short.”

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met this week to discuss an expanded red snapper quota because of a recent stock assessment that showed the fishery has improved significantly.
“We think we will get somewhere between three and four million pounds,” Blankenship said. “There will be a discussion as to whether we allow fishermen to take the additional quota this year or whether we smooth it out over the next few years (to) be more consistent.”

To read the entire article, go to:

Dauphin Island claims ‘Sunset Capitol of Alabama’
by Michael Dumas,, July 21
Panoramic sunsets have long been an inspiration to the residents and visitors of Alabama’s historic barrier island. And now the colorful and unique seascapes are going to be a source of pride shared throughout the region as Dauphin Island has now been named the Sunset Capitol of Alabama by its town council, with support from the Alabama Tourism Department.

Billboards and other marketing materials bearing the new title will begin appearing along major highways and interstates in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama within the next week, sharing the news with those traveling “all roads leading to Dauphin Island,” according to A.J. Jongewaard, spokesman for the South Mobile County Tourism Authority.

He said shortly after the BP oil spill, local leaders started discussing rebranding efforts with state Tourism Director Lee Sentell to identify something about the island “we could hang our hat on … a catch for future tourists, or a fun marketing tool that island businesses could rally around.”
“Dauphin Island, where it’s located geographically, is really the westernmost, white-sand beach certainly in Alabama but also on the Gulf Coast,” Jongewaard said. “That’s a unique feature that we really to this point in history haven’t played up.  “It’s something really special that’s kind of hard to put into words.”

Have a favorite place to watch the sunset, or a favorite sunset photo? Share the places in the comment section and/or send photos to

That’s not a challenge for physician and artist Joy Russell, who lives on the island with her husband, and has basked in its sunset inspiration for more than a decade.

Quoting novelist and poet G.K. Chesterton, Russell said, “If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I should feel that I have worked with God.”

A board member on the newly formed Dauphin Island Arts & Heritage Council, one of Russell’s sunset photographs was chosen to be used for the “Sunset Capitol” billboards. “You can never get bored if you live on an island and you can see a panoramic sunset,” she said. “It’s always different and it’s always beautiful.

“Sometimes, it’s really pastel and looks like the inside of an opal. And then sometimes it looks like the water’s on fire and the sky’s on fire.”

Promoting the uniqueness of the Dauphin Island experience at dusk was key for tourism officials and the greater community as the campaign was being considered, according to Jongewaard.
“There’s a different feeling when you get down to the island and the sun starts to set,” he said. “You’re standing on the wet sand and you can see the sky changing 360 degrees around you.”
The universal appeal of such an experience is something the people of south Mobile hope draws more folks to their shores, while also highlighting one of the key aspects of living on Dauphin Island, Jongewaard said.

As for Russell, she said one only has to look to history to see the motivational effects of sunsets on mankind, with the future ripe for a similar impact.
“(Musician Claude) Debussy said there’s nothing more musical than the sunset,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

Parsons updates council on Jackson County tourism
by Danielle Wallingsford, The Clarion, July 17
J.P. Parsons, Vice President of Tourism and Destination Marketing at the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce addressed the Scottsboro City Council last Monday.

Parsons updated the council on the economic impact of tourism in Jackson County. According to Parsons, this is the first time in a while he has been allowed to divulge tourism information due to the BP situation.

Parsons, who has been head of tourism in Jackson County since 2003, said that the county has had its ups and downs in tourism. “Some people see tourism as a recession proof business, but that’s not always the case,” he said. He called the years of 2008 and 2009 economic downturn years for the county. In 2008 tourism expenditures totaled $32 million and $29 million in 2009. “Since that time we have been booming,” Parsons said.

He said that tourism in Alabama is a $10.8 billion industry. “We are reflected at $55 million for numbers ending in 2012,” he said.

Jackson County, according to Parsons, currently employs 719 people in the tourism industry, earning a total of $17 million. “What community would not want to have an industry that employs 719 people? Their earnings are not the greatest in the world, but that $17 million in earnings is reflected by the 719 people that are employed because of tourism in Jackson County,” he said.
Parsons said that the percentage growth in Jackson County for tourism is greater than state growth in tourism, and also greater than the Alabama Mountain Lakes, which consists of 16 counties in North Alabama.

Each year Parsons says he does a marketing plan for the county. “It reflects segments of industry that we focus on. It also shows that there is room for a lot of growth in the tourism industry, especially in the meetings market and sports tourism,” he said. Parsons said he thinks the county should focus on sports initiatives because the city has new tennis courts and a soccer complex. He added that he hopes an announcement will be made in the near future that will bring more meetings into Jackson County. “Right now, we don’t have the meeting space. All meetings want to be connected to a hotel,” he said.

To Demopolis with love: Ogletree leaves lasting legacy
by Mary Catherine Goodwin, The Demopolis Times, July 16
Buddy Galon, well-known Hollywood stage, television and motion picture personality, left a total of $50,000 to five organizations in Demopolis following his death on July 4, 2013.

Galon, a former resident of Demopolis, donated the money in honor of his late mother, Imadelle Ogletree, who was a 41-year resident of Demopolis. The recipients of $10,000 each, were Gaineswood, Bluff Hall, Marengo County History and Archives Museum, Demopolis Music Study Club and Demopolis Public Library.

Galon, a native of Atlanta, lived in Demopolis for many years and graduated from Demopolis High School in 1958. He was well known for his Walt Disney child performances and his role as director for Lucille Ball films.

To read the entire article, go to:

Sign-up for International Showcase in Nashville
Registration is currently underway for the International Showcase held in Nashville, Dec. 3-6, 2013. This will be the second international show presented by Travel South. Last year the response from both overseas tour companies and Alabama suppliers was great.

Nashville will be an exciting city for the International tour operators, so I think the level and number of companies attending will be even better. In anticipation, this year the showcase will have two full days of appointments instead of just a day and a half. This will allow you to have even more appointments. More than 75 international tour operators from more than a dozen countries around the globe are expected to attend.

Thanks to the large number of Alabama suppliers that signed up last year, Alabama projected a solid image of an area of the south where tourist should and do come to spend their money and have a good time.

Sign up now. The early bird special pricing that starts as low as $995 for a single seat at a three-seat appointment table ends Aug. 31. For the best appointment results, come with two others from your area and have a unified tourism message. Starting Sept. 1, the price of appointment taking admission will be higher.

To sign up, look at all pricing and regulations, go to:,
and to download the International Showcase brochure, go to:!userfiles/showcase/International%20Showcase/IntlShowcase2013_Brochure.pdf

Travel South is expecting that booth space will sell out, so the Alabama Tourism Department suggests destinations, attractions and accommodations register as soon as possible to make sure you can attend.

For more information, contact Liz Bittner at Travel South or
Grey Brennan, Alabama Tourism Department, 334-242-4459,

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Aug. 4-7 Alabama Motorcoach/Georgia Motorcoach Operators/South Central Motorcoach Association, Birmingham
Aug. 16-25 Alabama Restaurant Week
Aug. 17-21 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism – Huntsville, AL (Westin)
Sept. 19 Alabama Mountain Lakes Annual Meeting
Dec. 3-6 International Showcase, Nashville
Feb. 23-26, 2014 Domestic Showcase, Charleston, WV

ATD is currently registering and planning for the following 2014 Consumer Shows:
Cincinnati Boat and Travel Show – Jan. 17-19 & Jan. 22-26, 2014
Louisville Boat Show – Jan. 22-26, 2014
Indianapolis Boat and RV Show – Feb. 14-23, 2014
Nashville Southern Women’s Show – Mar. 27-30, 2014
If you are interested in working in the Alabama Tourism Department’s booth, please contact Rosemary Judkins at 334-242-4493 or
The Alabama Tourism Department News is a free electronic newsletter produced by the Alabama Tourism Department. It contains news about the state tourism department and the Alabama tourism industry. The newsletter can also be accessed online by going to: