Frequently Asked Questions

  • When was ATD created?Back to top

    The agency which now goes by the name of the Alabama Tourism Department was created in October 1951 by legislative act as the Bureau of Publicity & Information. The name was amended and changed in May 1984 to Bureau of Tourism & Travel and changed again in 2010 to the present name.

  • What is the purpose of ATD?Back to top

    ATD, as mandated by the Legislature, is entitled with “exclusive power and authority to plan and conduct all state programs of information and publicity designed to attract tourists to the state of Alabama." Its purpose is to promote travel to and through Alabama. It does this both nationally and internationally.

  • How is ATD funded?Back to top

    ATD is funded by one-fourth of the 4 percent state lodgings tax collected by all hotels, motels, campgrounds and other accommodations. Alabama's funding ranks 9th among the 12 Southern states.

  • How does ATD impact tourism?Back to top

    ATD helps ensure that Alabama’s economy gains maximum benefits from tourism. More than 25.8 million travelers spent more than $13.3 billion in the state in 2016, supporting the jobs of 179,600 Alabamians.

  • What is 1-800-Alabama?Back to top

    ATD operates the 1-800-Alabama nationwide toll free and (334) 242-4169 telephone system for Alabama tourism information. Calls are answered five days a week by travel counselors who are knowledgeable about Alabama’s tourism product and the state travel industry. The travel counselors handle incoming calls, mail, and live chat also offer travel counseling for tourists and potential tourists, assist students doing Alabama research projects and process e-mail requests. Hours of operation are:

    Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

    Central Time

  • What is www.alabama.travel?Back to top

    ATD maintains a website at www.alabama.travel. It contains comprehensive travel information and links to local tourism sites. ATD’s Facebook page is Alabama Travel. For details on being included, contact Dawn Chandler at (334) 242-4415 or dawn.chandler@tourism.alabama.gov.

  • Where does ATD advertise Alabama?Back to top

    ATD's advertising efforts are targeted toward the Southeast, since 85 percent of tourists come from within a 500-mile radius of Alabama. Ads are placed in both print and broadcast media. State law prohibits ATD from placing advertisements within Alabama. For more information, contact Grey Brennan, 334- 242-4459 or grey.brennan@tourism.alabama.gov

  • What are Welcome Centers and where are they located?Back to top

    The eight official Alabama Welcome Centers are located at key entry points into the state. They give over six million travelers their first impressions of Alabama. A Welcome Center is an outlet for tourist information. ATD employs Welcome Center personnel to greet tourists and promote the state’s events, attractions, historic sites, lodgings and much more. The Alabama Department of Transportation maintains the grounds and structures. For more information on various programs and how to get involved with Welcome Center promotions, contact Trisa Collier, 256-423-3891 or ardmore.center@tourism.alabama.gov.

  • What are the Rest Areas and where are they located?Back to top

    Rest Areas are strategically located within the interior of the state along major highways. They provide a place for travelers to take a break while en route to their destination, and are not staffed by ATD employees. They come under the authority of the Alabama Department of Transportation.

  • How can my brochures be distributed in the Welcome Centers?Back to top

    Every brochure is approved by the ATD Brochure Committee and must adhere to the following guidelines:

    Brochure Approval Guidelines and Procedures

    1) Must be related to the travel industry in Alabama only. Must be open to the general public. International directories will not be accepted. Two national hotel/motel directories are accepted per Welcome Center (maintained under the counter, for reference only - not for distribution to the public).

    2) Must not be commercial sales real estate, timeshare and/or membership-only or land developments. Only rental properties in travel-related areas handled by real estate agencies, etc. are acceptable.

    3) Brochures containing advertising will be accepted only when all advertising is directly related to the promotion of tourism in Alabama.

    4) All brochures and/or rack cards - i.e., hotels, motels, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, attractions and events with quoted rates, dollars off, percentage off, and/or free coupons - must have expiration date printed on them. Open-ended rates, i.e., "$29.95 and up," are accepted only with an expiration date.

    5) All brochures should contain proper English usage, and be concise and to-the-point with a good selling message. Brochures must have complete address and telephone number. It is strongly recommended that any important selling message that draws attention to the brochure be printed on the upper half of the front of the brochure, as this will ensure easy visibility when displayed in brochure racks.

    6) Brochures must fit easily into display rack. Standard rack size is 4" x 9". To prevent brochures from curling over in racks, it is recommended that brochures be printed on 110 lb. stock paper. Due to limited space at the Welcome Centers, if a brochure does not meet the standard rack size, it may not be immediately visible or it may not be possible to display it to the public.

    7) Brochures must be received for approval at least 30 days prior to distribution. Special events brochures must be received for approval at least three months in advance.

    8) For approval consideration for Welcome Center distribution, a copy of the brochure should be sent to: Alabama Tourism Department, Attn: Mattie Pierce, P.O. Box 4927, Montgomery, AL 36103-4927, (334) 242-4644 or mattie.pierce@tourism.alabama.gov.

    9) Matching Grants brochures are pre-approved through the director's office. For Matching Grants guidelines and application forms, click here.

    10) An initial shipment of 2,000 brochures (after approval) is required to establish distribution to the Welcome Centers. For inventory purposes, all brochures are required to be shipped directly to the main office: Alabama Tourism Department, Attn: Mattie Pierce, 401 Adams Ave., Ste 126, Montgomery, AL 36104, (334) 242-4644 or mattie.pierce@tourism.alabama.gov. Brochures will be distributed after the inventory process is completed. During the busy travel season the eight Welcome Centers may quickly deplete the initial supply of 2,000 brochures. A postcard will be sent to the brochure's contact person when it is time to replenish ATD's supply of the brochure.

    11) All brochures must be approved for Welcome Center distribution prior to consideration for Rest Area distribution. Information and instructions for Rest Area distribution is available through ATD or the Alabama Department of Transportation.

  • How can I acquire ATD brochures for displays?Back to top

    If you desire to display brochures that are published by ATD, you may call and inquire about availability. Requests for literature not published by ATD should be made directly to the attraction/event/lodging of a city. Contact Mattie Pierce, (334) 242-4644 or mattie.pierce@tourism.alabama.gov.

  • Who designs and creates Alabama's official travel brochures?Back to top

    Except for the Alabama Vacation Guide and selected projects handled independently, all official Alabama travel literature is designed and laid out in the art department of ATD's Publications Division. These include the Alabama Highway Map, Alabama Civil War Trail, Alabama Civil Rights Museum Trail, Hank Williams Trail, 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die, Alabama Garden Trail, , postcards, bookmarks and more. To discuss reprints, updates, deletions or other creative suggestions regarding ATD's travel publications, contact Tommy Cauthen, tommy.cauthen@tourism.alabama.gov.

  • What is a Matching Grant and how do I qualify?Back to top

    The Matching Grants program provides assistance on a 50/50 matching basis to non-profit Alabama tourism organizations promoting travel and vacation business in Alabama. Those approved may be considered for grants on an annual basis. Funds may be used for brochures, tourism promotion websites, and out-of-state media advertising. No organization, or any of its subdivisions or affiliated groups, will be approved for more than one matching grant. Each non-profit organization will be required to submit its tax exempt identification number or its tax exemption letter from the Internal Revenue Service. For details, contact Leigh Cross at (334) 242-4416, Leigh.Cross@tourism.alabama.gov or Scott Burbank at (334) 242-4359, Scott.Burbank@tourism.alabama.gov.

    For Matching Grants guidelines and application forms, click here.

  • How is ATD involved in weather emergencies?Back to top

    For information relating to hotel room availability, shelters, road closures, etc. during weather and other emergency situations, contact JoJo Terry, (334) 242-4716, jojo.terry@tourism.alabama.gov  or Pam Smith (334) 353-4541, pam.smith@tourism.alabama.gov.

  • What is the official Alabama Vacation Guide and how do I obtain a listing?Back to top

    The official Alabama Vacation Guide contains comprehensive information about the state's attractions, lodgings, state parks, campgrounds, outdoor recreation, outfitters and golf courses and also the calendar of events. The Guide is published by ATD and given out to more than 250,000 tourists annually. Alabama Vacation Guide information is also posted on the ATD website at www.alabama.travel and is updated as needed. For information about submitting events for the calendar of events, adding or changing listings, or enhancing listings with display ads, contact Pam Smith at (334) 353-4541 or pam.smith@tourism.alabama.gov.

  • What is Alabama Tourism News?Back to top

    Alabama Tourism News is an electronic newsletter on ATD, its activities and other industry news. It is distributed weekly via email. Articles are written in-house, but the editor welcomes news releases on new openings, major changes and other newsworthy events within Alabama's tourism infrastructure. Contact Brian Jones at (334) 242-4665 or brian.jones@tourism.alabama.gov.

  • How does ATD work with travel writers?Back to top

    ATD provides support to travel writers interested in producing stories that feature Alabama as a travel destination. Assistance is given in the form of press kits, press trips, photography, story ideas and itinerary suggestions. For more information, visit ATD's online media page or contact Brian Jones at (334) 242-4665, Brian.Jones@tourism.alabama.gov.

  • How does ATD assist the group travel, sports or reunion markets?Back to top

    • Alabama Group Tour Guide - comprehensive resource book specially geared to needs of tour groups.

    • Sports Marketing - provides contacts and information on sports facilities and venues for sporting events.

    • Reunions - Family reunion, military, class reunion information.

    • Alabama Travel Marketing Calendar-consumer and trade show information.

    • Assists with sales missions in which Alabama tourism professionals meet one-on-one with group tour operators and travel agents.

    • Provides listing of Alabama motor coach companies and tour operators.

    • Provides details on familiarization tours for domestic and foreign tour operators and travel agents.

    • Offers tour development assistance - including itinerary and trip planning suggestions; information on routes and attractions; travel times; and local tourism contacts.

    For more details regarding group travel services, contact Grey Brennan,(334) 242-4459, grey.brennan@tourism.alabama.gov or Rosemary Judkins, (334) 242-4493, rosemary.judkins@tourism.alabama.gov. Or visit the Group Travel Resources page.

  • What are the four ATD regions?Back to top

    ATD has divided the state into four regions, assigning one staff person as Regional Director for each region. This provides personal, one-on-one access to the ATD for tourism professionals throughout Alabama.

    North Alabama Brian S. Jones, (334) 242-4665, brian.jones@tourism.alabama.gov

    Counties: Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Winston

    Central Alabama Grey Brennan, (334) 242-4459, grey.brennan@tourism.alabama.gov

    Counties: Bibb, Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Chambers, Chilton, Coosa, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Lamar, Perry, Pickens, Randolph, St. Clair, Shelby, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker

    South Alabama Rick Harmon, (334) 242-0583, rick.harmon@tourism.alabama.gov

    Counties: Autauga, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Dallas, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Pike, Russell, Wilcox

    Gulf Coast JoJo Terry, (334) 242-4716, jojo.terry@tourism.alabama.gov

    Counties: Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, Washington

  • What are some other ways ATD promotes tourism?Back to top

    • Provides statistics on the economic impact of travel activity in Alabama.

    • Plans and organizes special year-long themed marketing campaigns:

    2007-"The Year of Alabama Arts", 2008-"The Year of Alabama Sports", 2009-"The Year of Alabama History", 2010-"The Year of Small Towns and Downtowns", 2011-"The Year of Alabama Music", 2012-"The Year of Alabama Food," "Alabama Road Trips", 2013-"The Year of Alabama Food", 2014-"The Year of Alabama Parks", 2015-"The Year of Alabama BBQ", 2016-"The Year of Alabama Makers"

    • Distributes free tourism brochures, maps and posters.

    • Writes and distributes travel-related articles, news releases and press kits.

    • Organizes press trips and familiarization tours.

    • Creates and distributes digital images of Alabama travel destinations.

    • Offers video footage of travel scenes around the state, without narration.

    • Represents Alabama at consumer travel shows.

    • Sponsors the Alabama Tourism Awards.

    • Coordinates the statewide "Saturday Walking Tours" program during April.

  • How does ATD pursue the global travel market?Back to top

    Alabama welcomes tourists from all countries and markets through Brand USA, Travel South USA, the services of representatives in key markets and directly to consumer and travel trade at important shows and consumer events. The Alabama Tourism Department assists with familiarization tours for foreign journalists and tour operators.

    ATD's International Representatives in the UK/Ireland are Venessa Alexander and Andy Facer for tour and consumer travel and Surinder Manku for travel trade . The contact information is as follows:

    Global Travel Marketing
    011 44 208 397 6122

    Venessa Alexander
    venessa@globaltravelmarketing.org

    Andy Facer
    andy@globaltravelmarketing.org

    Surinder Manku
    surinder_manku@outlook.com

    In the German/Austria/Switzerland markets, a German Partnership with several of the major destination marketing organizations in Alabama has been formed to provide representation in those markets for important tourism sections of Alabama. The partnership contracts with Textransfer in Germany. Our representative for Public Relations and Marketing is Janin Nachweh. The contact information is as follows:

    Janin Nachtweh
    Public Relations & Marketing
    janin.nachtweh@textransfer.de
    +49 (30) 7262 5191

    In six additional markets, ATD has joined with several other Travel South member states in contracting for services:

    • Australia
    • Brazil
    • Benelux Countries
    • China
    • France
    • Italy

    In addition, ATD contracts the services of a Chinese coordinator in Alabama to aid in our marketing and public relations efforts with Chinese tour operators and media. The contact information is as follows:

    Ying "Springna" Zhao
    Lan Consulting, LLC
    2lanconsulting@gmail.com
    334-669-7169