Tourism Tuesdays July 26, 2016

  • Governor Bentley commends work of Alabama Tourism Department
  • Deadline to sign up for April Walking Tours 2017
  • Summer Clearance Sale at the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop
  • 114 restaurants participate in Alabama Restaurant Week
  • Alabama barbecue pitmaster will compete this week on Food Network
  • Alabama state parks are a valuable asset
  • Alabama state parks offer affordable vacations
  • New amendment could protect AL state park funding
  • An Alabama city is now home to the world horseshoe pitching tournament
  • Daphne Homewood Suites earns fourth “Hotel of the Year” award
  • Bellingrath Gardens and Home celebrates big anniversaries
  • Amtrak talks come to Alabama where one crucial city is without a station
  • The Depot Restaurant in Auburn earns Wine Spectator Restaurant Award of Excellence in 2016
  • Alabama Motorcoach Association annual meeting
  • Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

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Governor Bentley commends work of Alabama Tourism Department

Governor Robert Bentley on Monday commended the Alabama Tourism Department for its work last week in New York City. The Tourism Department set out on a takeover of Manhattan. The marketing campaign involved several experiences that brought unique aspects of Alabama to the people living in and visiting New York.

“What the Alabama Tourism Department did was reveal the true Alabama to an entirely new audience,” Governor Bentley said. “This campaign was innovative in its approach to reaching new audiences. I hope that some of those introduced to our “Great State” last week will soon make their way here to experience all Alabama has to offer.”

The Tourism Department took over one of New York’s popular double-decker tour buses, offering a hop-on/hop-off tour experience with the sights and sounds of Alabama while in New York. The custom-wrapped Alabama bus allowed weary travelers to pause and compare the hustle and bustle of New York to the relaxed, savory experience of a trip through Alabama via vivid descriptions of Sweet Home Alabama, as well as connections between Alabama and the city. The tour hit all the major landmarks on a downtown route, from Times Square to the Empire State Building.

“Touring a whole state while visiting a different city, in a different state altogether, seems like an impossible feat,” said Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department. “But we brought the sights and sounds of Alabama with us, and are eager to have people walk away feeling excited about a new vacation destination.”

Last week, two events took place: The first invited people near Herald Square to take a relaxing break in a display replicating Alabama’s Gulf Coast; the second offered spectators a taste of Alabama, and passed out Belle Chevre’s cheesecake with a unique delivery.

Additionally, commuters who tuned into radio station 87.9 FM, within a 400-foot radius of an interactive billboard, could listen to enticing and relaxing sounds from all over Alabama, at Watts and Thompson Streets.

The displays and bus ride were a unique complement to the larger Savor Alabama campaign, aimed at educating potential tourists about what truly makes the state a place you want to take in all the sights, sounds, smells, flavors and sensations. Additionally, the campaign has been featured in publications Condé Nast Traveler, Southern Living, Travel & Leisure, Garden & Gun and National Geographic Traveler.

“It was an amazing week of experiences, engaging with locals and tourists alike,” Sentell said. “We feel like we reached a new audience of travelers and educated them on what makes Alabama an ideal travel destination, through distinctive one-of-a-kind experiences and a touch of Southern hospitality.”

To read this article online, go to: http://governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/2016/07/governor-bentley-commends-work-alabama-tourism-department/

Editor’s Note: Intermark Group developed and coordinated an innovative campaign to showcase Alabama tourism to New York CityThe campaign was designed to reach both tourists and the New York media with a unique “take it to the streets” promotion.  The Intermark Group marketing agency, based in Birmingham, is the advertising agency for the Alabama Tourism Department and has handled the state tourism account since October. 

Alabama Tourism in NYC on social media

Following are the NYC Campaign video links posted on FB. Make sure you click on the video so the sound will play.  Put the cursor on the bottom of the video and you’ll see the speaker icon.  Click on the icon it will turn the sound on.  

https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaTravel/videos/10153890316628845/ Beach Box

https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaTravel/videos/10153890865638845/ Interview with 2 UA grads

https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaTravel/videos/10153892429523845/ Cheesecake Box

https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaTravel/videos/10153895272963845/ Tour Bus Takeover

 

Twitter links:

https://twitter.com/TweetHomeAla/status/756513667106140160 Bus

https://twitter.com/TweetHomeAla/status/756168698537410561 Cheesecake

https://twitter.com/TweetHomeAla/status/755802595512446976 Beach Box

https://twitter.com/TweetHomeAla/status/756141357031383040 AL.com article tweeted out.

 

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BIFvPYzhFsY/?taken-by=alabamatravel

https://www.instagram.com/p/BIIXMMUDYo6/?taken-by=alabamatravel

https://www.instagram.com/p/BIKwzTHBa3K/?taken-by=alabamatravel

 

Deadline to sign up for April Walking Tours 2017

Towns interested in participating in the 2017 April Walking Tours should respond with an email giving their town’s name, starting location, contact person and shipping address to brian.jones@tourism.alabama.gov.  The deadline to sign-up for the walking tours is Aug. 1 to ensure that participating towns can be included in the 2017 state vacation guide.

Towns already signed up for 2017 include: Athens, Attalla, Bayou La Batre, Cullman, Daleville, Decatur, Elba, Enterprise, Eutaw, Fairhope, Florence, Foley, Huntsville, Madison, Montgomery, Mooresville, Moulton, Selma, Sheffield, Shelby and Tuscumbia.

More than 2,500 people participated in this year’s April Walking Tours. Some 27 towns across the state hosted the tours. Towns with the most participants included Athens with 474, Huntsville with 310, Fairhope with 295, Tuscumbia with 124, Pell City with 110 and Cullman with 101.

The hour long tours start at 10:00 a.m. each Saturday morning in April. Dates for the 2017 April Walking Tours are April 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.

“These tours are an excellent way for towns and communities of any size to be involved in a state wide tourism campaign,” said Brian Jones with the Alabama Tourism Department.  “There is no cost to participate and state tourism provides all the posters, brochures and collateral materials. More than 20,000 people have participated in the tours since the beginning of the program twelve years ago,” he said.

Media coverage of the April Walking Tours this year included the Montgomery Advertiser, The Decatur Daily, Times-Daily, Moulton Advertiser, Cullman Times, The Demopolis Times, Dothan Eagle, News Courier, Selma Times Journal, Anniston Star, Courier Journal, Madison County Journal, Alabama News Center, WSFA-12 NBC Montgomery, WAAY-31 ABC Huntsville, WCFT 33-40 ABC Birmingham and WVTM-13 NBC Birmingham.

Email your town’s name, starting location, contact person and shipping address to brian.jones@tourism.alabama.gov to register for the April 2017 tours.

 

Summer Clearance Sale at the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop

The Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop is having a summer clearance sale to make way for fall merchandise.  Selected items have been discounted up to 75%.  Featured items include tourism T-shirts for $2, Sweet Home Alabama polo shirts for $5, tote bags for $1, BBQ aprons for $1 and discounted Christmas ornaments and other small gift items. The summer clearance sale continues through July 29.   

“This is a perfect time to pick up some of our Alabama-themed items at some great prices,” said gift shop manager Leigh Cross with the state tourism department. “A lot of these are items you can’t find anywhere else and they make wonderful gifts.”

A video highlighting some of the sale merchandise can be viewed by liking the Alabama Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop page on Facebook.  The gift shop is located in Montgomery at 30 Finley Ave. across the street from the side entrance of the Governor’s Mansion.  Store hours are M-F from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Phone orders are available by calling 334-241-8824.  

 

Alabama Restaurant Week participation 114

A recent study says Restaurant Week programs increase revenue by 23%

One hundred fourteen restaurants from across Alabama have already signed up for Alabama Restaurant Week, an annual promotion from the Alabama Tourism Department.  This year the event will cover the ten-day period of August 12-21.

The top three counties ranked by number of participating restaurants are Jefferson, with 43, Madison with 33 and Baldwin county with 15.

Alabama Restaurant Week is designed to increase local dining.  

An article in Restaurant Hospitality says restaurants that participate in a Restaurant Week promotion see an average increase of 23% in revenue despite promotional pricing.  http://restaurant-hospitality.com/marketing/restaurant-week-sales-uptick-averages-23-percent

There is still time to sign up for Alabama Restaurant Week.  Courtney Austin of the Alabama Tourism Department says there is still time for restaurants to sign up, “I’m receiving new entries each day from our website. This is a great promotion that helps the traveling public and our local restaurants.”

Restaurants can sign up by going to www.alabamarestaurantweek.com.  That website is also where the public can view restaurants and their specials during the promotion.

Local restaurants are an integral part of tourism.  The Alabama Tourism Department’s Year of Alabama Food campaigns were held in 2005, 2012 and 2013.  The department’s “100 dishes to eat before you die” is our most popular mini brochure.

For more information, contact Courtney.Austin@tourism.alabama.gov

 

Alabama barbecue pitmaster will compete this week on Food Network

By Lucy Berry, AL.com, July 25

A North Alabama barbecue pitmaster will appear this week on an episode of “Chopped Grill Masters” on Food Network.

Ken Hess, associate pitmaster at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que in Decatur and four-time winner of the World Championship of Pork, will compete against other barbecuers and chefs in the episode, which airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday. 

The Season 3 episode will air again at midnight Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. Saturday.

A description on FoodNetwork.com said the “grill masters face some beautiful mushrooms and strong jam. Fish butchery and flavor balancing come into play in the entree round, and the chefs get a yummy cake in the dessert basket.”

To read this article online, go to: http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/07/alabama_barbecue_pitmaster_wil.html

 

Alabama state parks are a valuable asset

By Hunter Richiey, The Crimson White, July 20

More than just a slogan plastered on state highway signs, the phrase “Alabama the Beautiful” embodies a past and present State of Alabama that takes great pride in sharing its natural gifts with those who come to visit. From its coastal connection to its highest mountain top, Alabama contains some of the most scenic acreage in the country, and it is enriched with a history that long predates European contact. While a drive down one of the state’s scenic byways provides a glimpse into the state’s natural beauty, true access comes at any of Alabama’s 28 state parks, which provide for public use of many of this state’s most precious sites.

Despite being the sole link many Alabamians have to affordable outdoor recreation, the Alabama state park system has been forced to transfer $15 million from its operating budget over the course of the last five years, a setback that has caused numerous parks to face the threat of closure, including Tuscaloosa’s own Lake Lurleen, north Alabama’s park at Lake Guntersville, and the state’s highest point at Mount Cheaha. If the benefits of state tax dollars to Alabama residents are to mean anything at all, residents cannot stand for cuts in access to Alabama’s public lands to continue.

Alabama state parks allow for recreation opportunities for Alabamians of all backgrounds. With day-use prices in the range of only a few dollars, places such as Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham provide a local weekend escape for Alabamians, including those who may lack the time or resources to spare for a weeklong vacation to the beach. Local options provide local benefits to consumers, as well as economic benefits to many small towns in Alabama. These parks, and the traffic they attract, promote jobs and economic activity in areas lacking an abundance in either.

In addition to their recreational benefits, Alabama state parks provide ecological benefits to areas of immense natural beauty. Along Alabama’s gulf coast, the most notable stretch of undeveloped and pristine shoreline is along Gulf State Park, where sand dunes and beach foliage dominate an area that would otherwise likely be home to the same high rise condominiums that fill both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Without state protection, such an area would likely be lost to the Alabama public forever. Likewise, the sparsely developed lands surrounding Mount Cheaha State Park and the Talladega National Forrest represent one of the only areas in the state still wild enough to be home to undisturbed black bear populations.

Alabama is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the United States. Containing some of the most ecologically diverse waterways in the world, and with terrain ranging from gulf beaches to rolling hills, Alabama’s natural lands deserve the maintenance they are presently afforded, if not solely for the benefit of generations of Alabamians still to come. The state and its residents should demand that the lands of “Alabama the Beautiful” remain accessible to the very people that take such pride in their preservation and use. Alabama’s state parks are a valuable asset to this state, and it would be a travesty if they were ever lost.

To read this article online, go to: http://www.cw.ua.edu/article/2016/07/alabama-state-parks-valuable

 

Alabama state parks offer affordable vacations

By Sally Pitts, WSFA 12 News, WTVM.com

Alabama’s state parks cover 48,000 acres of land from mountains in North Alabama all the way to the Gulf Coast.

While Gulf Coast State Park is the most visited, Oak Mountain just south of Birmingham is the largest.

“It is 9,060 acres,” says Oak Mountain Park Superintendent Kelly Ezell.

Ezell says more than half a million people visit the park each year.

One of those visitors told us “there’s nothing that can actually beat the beauty of this. I’m from New York originally so I’ve had my share of New York beaches and this is by far greater than what I’ve seen in New York.”

Another added “it’s inexpensive. It’s just wonderful…”

It’s affordable and only a short drive. Ezell encourages families to rent a cabin and vacation at the park. She says they’ll find something different to do every day.

“We have golf. We have got an 18-hole golf course. We have an archery course; we have playgrounds; we have picnic tables; we have the beach area; we have swimming areas; we have a marina that does boat rentals. We have stables, we’ve got a demonstration farm. The Alabama Wildlife Center is on the property and they’re host to a lot of sick and injured birds that they rehabilitate and release back out into the wild,” Ezell said.

Nature is what brings many people to the state parks. Chewacla State Park in Auburn offers two creeks and a lake for swimming and fishing. It’s miles and miles of biking trails give visitors beautiful views of the park.

“Chewacla, compared to the rest of the area in Auburn-Opelika, is totally different. There’s a lot of varying terrain that you may not see in this part of the world. It’s more similar to what you’re going to find in Asheville, North Carolina,” said Philip Darden, President of the State Parks Coalition.

Darden says his parents fell in love at Chewacla, and he fell in love with the park.

He now works to protect it and the state’s other 19 parks.

“They mean so much to many different people. You can come here to Chewacla state park and you can see all walks of life enjoying our parks system,” Darden said.

You can read more about each of the state parks at www.alapark.com.

To read this article online, go to: http://www.wtvm.com/story/32510088/alabama-state-parks-offer-affordable-vacations

 

New amendment could protect AL state park funding

By Sally Pitts, WSFA 12 News, WTVM.com

Whether it’s surfing along Alabama’s gulf coast, fishing and swimming at Lake Jackson in Opp to zip-lining across Lake Guntersville state park or taking a dip in the crystal-clear Blue Springs in Barbour County, Alabama’s State Parks have something to offer everyone.

Four – five million people visit Alabama’s parks each year. State Parks Director Greg Lein says that’s where state parks gets the bulk of their funding.

“We often talk about how our parks go from the mountains to the coast – we cover all geographical sites.” Lein said. “Some of the neighboring states that’s how they are operated, through tax dollars, but that’s not how it has been done in Alabama.”

An amendment on the ballot in November would protect the state parks funding. Funding issues threatened to shut down several state parks.  All but two remain open. 

“What it will do is protect the funds in which the state parks collect. It won’t allow the general fund to take that funding form out state parks system,” said Phillip Darden, president of the state parks coalition.  His group works to protect the state parks.

Darden says one of the biggest challenges is making people aware of what all the state parks have to offer.

“The constant challenge that we have is getting people engaged in the outdoors.”

“We know through TripAdvisor the park system is very well regarded by the people who go there.” Lein says. “We just need to broaden that net and share that experience with people who haven’t been there.”

You can find more about Alabama’s state parks at this website.

To read this article online, go to: http://www.wtvm.com/story/32509212/new-amendment-could-protect-al-state-park-funding

 

An Alabama city is now home to the world horseshoe pitching tournament

By Erin Edgemon, AL.com, July 21

The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association is holding its 2016 World Tournament in Montgomery beginning, Monday, July 25.

The tournament, which is being held at The Multiplex at Cramton Bowl, will continue through Saturday, Aug. 6.

The two-week event will have a $1.5 million economic impact on the city of Montgomery.


According to the group’s website,
nearly 1,000 people from 34 states, Canada and Switzerland have registered to participate. The tournament has eight divisions for men, woman, children and senior citizens.

Entrants will vie for $160,000 in prizes.

More than 60 portable horseshoe courts will be set up for the event.

Interested in seeing the action? Watch it live by clicking here.

According to the National Horseshoe Pitcher’s Association, the sport dates back to the Roman Empire, when Roman soldiers pitched discarded horseshoes.

Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War pitched horseshoes for recreation on the Boston Common. 

To read this article online, go to: http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/07/an_alabama_city_is_now_home_to.html#incart_river_home

 

Daphne Homewood Suites earns fourth “Hotel of the Year” award

Homewood Suites by Hilton Mobile East Bay/Daphne was recently recognized as the brand’s top-performing hotel for 2015, once again winning the highly coveted “Hotel of the Year” award for the fourth time in the past six years.

The Daphne property previously won the award in 2010, 2011, and 2014—and has also ranked among the brand’s top three hotels for six consecutive years. The hotel was selected from among 385 Homewood Suites worldwide and is part of Hilton’s international brand of upscale, all-suite, extended-stay hotels.

The Hotel of the Year award—also known as the Connie Award, named after the company’s founder, Conrad Hilton—is based on scores in three key areas: 1) Quality Assurance (QA) evaluations measuring cleanliness, condition and brand standards; 2) Satisfaction and Loyalty Tracking (SALT) scores, which indicate product quality based on thousands of guest surveys conducted throughout the year; and 3) the quality of the hotel’s physical accommodations.

Sandy Caruso, Director of Sales at Daphne, was honored with a Sales Leadership Merit Award (given to the top 15 sales directors across the hotel brand). These awards are based on specific components of the QA evaluations and SALT scores.

Chuck Cuff, General Manager of the Daphne Homewood Suites, said, “Winning this award again, for the fourth time in six years, demonstrates the high level of commitment that our team has in making sure that each and every guest has the best possible experience here in Daphne.”

Located only ten minutes from downtown Mobile, the Daphne Homewood Suites provides convenient access to South Alabama, Mobile, Fairhope, Gulf Coast beaches, and numerous outlet malls.

The Homewood Suites by Hilton Mobile-East Bay-Daphne is located at 29474 N. Main St. in Daphne, Alabama, just off I-10. More information is available by calling 251-621-0100 or at www.homewoodsuitesdaphneal.com.

 

Bellingrath Gardens and Home celebrates big anniversaries

The month of August brings two milestones to Bellingrath Gardens and Home: Founder’s Day, which is the annual celebration of Mr. Bellingrath’s birthday, and the 65th anniversary of the installation of the Monolith, the three-sided marker at the heart of the Gardens.

In 1950, Walter Bellingrath contracted with McNeel Memorials of Marietta, Ga., to develop a memorial to tell the story of Bellingrath Gardens. The finished monument, carved from red granite from Missouri, features three bronze plaques, each embossed with the blossoms of azaleas and camellias.

The first plaque tells the story of the property’s transformation from “a semi-tropical jungle … into a Mecca for garden lovers.” The second panel is a biography of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath, who her husband described as “richly endowed with an appreciation of everything beautiful.” The final plaque honors architect George B. Rogers, explaining, “it was his interpretation of our dreams which resulted in the perfection of these gardens.”

The new Monolith was installed in August 1951, right before Mr. Bellingrath’s 82nd birthday. According to an article appearing in the Mobile Register on Monday, August 6, 1951, an estimated 13,000 Mobilians had visited Bellingrath Gardens the previous day to honor Mr. Bellingrath and to get a view of the new Monolith. Read more details here.

On August 6, 2016, Bellingrath Gardens and Home will celebrate Founder’s Day, the 147th anniversary of Mr. Bellingrath’s birthday, by offering cruises on Fowl River, conducted by Delta Safaris. (Reservations are required for the cruises; to make a reservation, call 251-973-2217.)

By tradition, Bellingrath Gardens and Home offers free admission to residents of Mobile and Baldwin Counties on Founder’s Day. The Founder’s Day tradition dates back to 1949, when Mr. Bellingrath invited local residents to come and enjoy the Gardens at no charge as part of his 80th birthday celebration.

Guests are encouraged to tour the Bellingrath Museum Home during their visit, for an additional charge of $9. The Home, which opened to the public in 1956, marks its 80th anniversary this year.

In honor of the Home’s anniversary, Bellingrath Gardens and Home is also offering an August Anniversary Special, a discount rate to those touring the Gardens and Home throughout the month. Gardens and Home tickets for adults in August are $16.50 (regular fee: $21), and Gardens and Home tickets for ages 5-12 are $11.50 (regular fee: $13).

Bellingrath Gardens and Home is operated by the Bellingrath Gardens and Home Foundation, a charitable, not-for-profit organization. Bellingrath Gardens and Home is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the 65-acre garden and estate home of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath. For more information, visit www.bellingrath.org or call 251.973.2217.

 

Amtrak talks come to Alabama where one crucial city is without a station

By John Sharp, AL.com, July 25

The ongoing talks about restoring Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast will make their way this week to the largest city along the rail line without a train station: Mobile.

But before a federally formed working group meets Thursday to discuss a return of the trains to the region, the Mobile City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a resolution to cheer Amtrak on.

“A Gulf Coast passenger rail service will facilitate job creation, enhance tourism and reduce environmental and roadway impacts,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement. “This service will not only connect cities across the Gulf Coast, but will also link Mobile to the Midwest, West Coast and across the nation. It will benefit all of our citizens, but especially those with limited transportation options or physical challenges.”

The resolution before the council is similar to one already approved by other cities along a rail line that runs from New Orleans east toward Jacksonville.

Thursday, the Gulf Coast working group will meet in Mobile as it continues crafting a crucial report that is due to Congress by early September. It’s the only meeting that the group plans in the city.

Among the discussion topics is an update from Amtrak on its existing stations along a rail line that hasn’t operated for passengers since Hurricane Katrina’s savage blow in 2005. Mobile’s train station that once served Amtrak’s Sunset Limited line was a Katrina casualty.

Most of the other cities along the coastal rail line have infrastructure already in place in anticipation of the trains returning.

Rail officials and consultants say the decision on where to locate a train station or platform – and its design — will be up to Mobile leaders.

“There are a lot of different things you can make it look like – an open area like a bus stop with ticketing or it can be a full-blown station or a mixed-use/French market style facility with shops and retails. Those are all options,” said Dan Dealy, a consultant who has long been focused on examining the restoration of passenger rail along the Gulf Coast.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the decision solely rests with Mobile on how to proceed. He said that Amtrak will serve as an intermediary in any talks between the city and CSX on the location for a train station. The line through Mobile is presently being used by CSX for freight trains.

Also involved in those talks would be the Southern Rail Commission, a leading advocacy group for trail service in the Deep South.

The ramped-up attention for Gulf Coast passenger rail comes about six months after a two-day, four-state inspection voyage carried government and rail officials along the rail line to examine its condition. Along the way at each stop, large groups of locals gathered to wave American flags and serenade the train as it made its way east. It was the first time a passenger rail line had traversed the Gulf Coast since Katrina.

To read this entire article online, go to: http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2016/07/amtrak_talks_come_to_alabama_w.html

 

The Depot Restaurant in Auburn earns Wine Spectator Restaurant Award of Excellence in 2016

The Depot in Auburn is among 20 winners in the State of Alabama being honored for its outstanding wine program in Wine Spectator’s 2016 Restaurant Wine List Awards.  The restaurant is recognized among other winners from all over the globe as a top destination for wine lovers.

Showcasing a diverse, exclusive, and balanced representation of world wines to match our gulf-inspired pristine seafood menu, The Depot strives to educate every guest on our wine list. Representing the world’s greatest wine regions, we have brought quality-driven wines, older vintages, and unique blends not readily available in the Auburn market. The Depot’s wine list spans over 10 countries and includes over 90 selections carefully chosen by quality, region, and desired food pairing by our Wine Director & Beverage Manager, Caleb Reeves.  

“On behalf of Wine Spectator, I’m thrilled to congratulate each and every award-winning restaurant. They should be very proud,” said Marvin R. Shanken, Editor and Publisher, Wine Spectator.

“Winning the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator is like a dream come true. I am consistently working to make sure we are offering the absolute best selections at fair prices, so to be recognized by Wine Spectator for my efforts means the world to me”, said Caleb Reeves.

The complete list of award winners is available in print in Wine Spectator’s August issue, and online at Restaurants.WineSpectator.com.

 

Motorcoach meeting held in Florence

The combined meetings of the motorcoach associations from six states was held in Florence on July 16-20.  The meeting was attended by 268 motorcoach company representatives and group leaders.  During their conference, they met with tourism officials from Alabama and other states to learn about group tour destinations.

Rosemary Judkins from the Alabama Tourism Department attended the conference.  She and others from Alabama had appointments with various motorcoach companies and group leaders.

Those attending the motorcoach meeting were offered their choice of several tours of the area, including visiting the iconic recording studios of FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound.  The tours included: Gold Record Road, Fashion & FAME, Architecture from Talking Stones to Frank Lloyd Wright Home, Inspiration of the Southern Soul and Bon Appetit.

Special events for the group included dinner at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, a golf tournament at the RTJ Shoals location and a meal function at the Rattlesnake Saloon.

All of the events were designed to showcase the area as a group tour destination. The Florence Lauderdale Tourism, Colbert County Tourism and the Marriott Shoals Hotel partnered to make the event a success. 

For more information, contact rosemary.judkins@tourism.alabama.gov

 

Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism

The Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism (AGCT), slated for Aug. 20 – 23, at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, provides tourism professionals a chance to gather and learn about the economic impact of the industry on the Alabama economy, learn new strategies for marketing local Alabama attractions and amenities to visitors, raise money for scholarships through silent auctions and to celebrate achievements.

For more information and registration, go to: www.alabamagovernorsconference.com

 

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Aug. 12 – 21                            Alabama Restaurant Week

Aug. 20 – 23                           Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism           Orange Beach

Sept. 7 – 9                               STS Fall Forum                                                          Birmingham

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Tourism Tuesdays 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: www.tourism.alabama.gov

To subscribe to the weekly Alabama Tourism News, please contact Peggy Collins at: peggy.collins@tourism.alabama.gov

Alabama Tourism Department
www.alabama.travel