Sweet Home Saving’s campaign to boost tourism in Alabama
• Two weeks left to enter Alabama Restaurant Week
• Deadline for 2014 Vacation Guide & Calendar listings is Aug. 1
• 70 Alabama nominations posted in National Geographic map project
deadline to submit July 15
• Lake Eufaula celebrates 50 years
• Karsner-Kennedy House in Florence gets new historic marker
• Discovery Communications’ John Hendricks: from Huntsville to media mogul
• Tourism director and UK journalist meet in Muscle Shoals
• U.S. Space & Rocket Center included in 50 states in 30 days article
• U.S. Space & Rocket Center promotes space exploration with exhibit in Tel Aviv
• Huntsville/Madison County CVB unveils visitor display at Madison City Hall
• Birmingham has a mansion for the public
• I ate a boatload of Gulf Coast seafood in Mobile
• Birmingham is a prize in The Guardian’s competition for U.K. readers
• International travelers to U.S. post record numbers for April
• Tourism official: red snapper regulations cost Alabama 1,600 jobs
• Sign-up for International Showcase in Nashville
• Start-up airline to begin Birmingham-to-Gulf Coast flights July 2
• Decatur’s star-spangled event named a top 20 event in the Southeast
• Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism opens Aug. 18 in Huntsville
• Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events
Sweet Home Saving’s campaign to boost tourism in Alabama
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.

Two weeks left to enter Alabama Restaurant Week
The deadline to enter and complete your meal offering for Alabama Restaurant Week is July 15. Chamber and CVB organizations are encouraged to join with the Alabama Tourism Department in reaching out to locally owned restaurants and asking them to sign up for this free promotion.
To see which restaurants have signed up so far, go to

Restaurants go to this same website to sign up, enter their meal offerings and to see participation rules.
As of June 28, here is a list of cities with multiple of restaurants signed up to participate:
Birmingham – 29
Huntsville -16
Mobile -10
Tuscaloosa – 9
Troy – 6
Montgomery – 6
Dothan – 6
Fairhope – 5
Decatur – 5
Orange Beach – 4
Gulf Shores – 4
Rogersville – 2
Point Clear – 2
Northport – 2
New Market – 2

The following cities each have one restaurant entered:
Auburn, Bessemer, Bon Secour, Centre, Elkmont, Enterprise, Eufaula, Florence, Guntersille, Hammondville, Luverne, Millbrook, Monroeville, Moulton, Prattville, Saraland, Spanish Fort, Tanner, Trussville, Tuscumbia, Unions Springs, Wetumpka and York.
Restaurants in Birmingham that have signed up for Birmingham Restaurant Week and automatically participate in Alabama Restaurant Week.

All total, 131 in 38 Alabama cities have signed up to participate in the promotion which will run the 10 day period, Aug. 16-24.

For more information, contact Grey Brennan 334-242-4459, For information on Birmingham Restaurant Week, contact James Little, 205-595-0562,


Deadline for 2014 Vacation Guide & Calendar listings is Aug. 1
It’s that time of year again…time to make sure your accommodation or attraction is up-to-date and listed correctly in Alabama’s official travel and tourism guide—Sweet Home Alabama.
The 2014 Sweet Home Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events has grown over the years into an impressive, coffee table-style reference book that is both informative and beautiful to flip through.

The well-crafted articles, striking photography and detailed listings make it not only a resource but a pleasure to review. We are proud of how far it has come, and we are excited about this year’s guide being our best yet.

This year, another exciting development has been the creation of an online, electronic database listings update process. Never again will you have to sort through numerous mailings and mail back your listings update or confirmation.

Now, you will be able to follow a few simple steps to confirm, update or add a listing:
• Simply log on to the new website,, and either confirm, change or add your listing right then and there.
• Our new online listings process will save you and the state a great deal of time and money. It is much more efficient, and we hope you will appreciate this step we have taken to make this advancement.
• 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.

We look forward to featuring your organization, accommodation, attraction or resource center in the 2014 Sweet Home Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events.
For any questions, e-mail or call Pam Smith at 334-353-4541.

70 Alabama nominations posted in National Geographic map project
deadline to submit July 15
The first part of the U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism website and mapguide project was kicked off the end of May with a nomination process until July 15. So far there has been widespread support from the Alabama tourism industry with seventy points of interest in Alabama submitted and posted as nominated sites or events.

Residents, community organizations, tourism stakeholders and/or local businesses are asked to self nominate their sites for potential inclusion in the interactive Geotourism-themed program being conducted as part of the National Geographic Brand.

The Alabama sites nominated and posted as of June 28 are:
Columbiana Inn Bed & Breakfast
Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park Lakeside Cabins and Cottages
Battle-Friedman House and Gardens
Belle Mont Mansion
Downtown Fairhope
Fendall Hall
Five Points South
Hank Williams Trail
Historic Downtown Montgomery
LaGrange College Site Park and Pioneer Village
Olde Town Daphne
Quitters of Gees Bend
Shape Note Singing in Henager
Spanish Fort
Studios of Muscle Shoals
Festival or Event
Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival
Annual Jubliee Festival
Daphne Annual Arts and Crafts Festival
Demopolis Christmas on the River
Kentuck Festival of the Arts
Mobile Mardi Gras
W.C. Handy Music Festival
Food or Drink
Tuscaloosa River Market
Historic Place
Alabama Governors Mansion
Chattahoocchee Trace
Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center
Confederate Memorial Park
Fort Morgan State Historic Site
Gainsewood National Historic Lankmark
Gainswood NationaL Historic Landmark
Hart House
Magnolia Grove Historic Site
Monundville Archaeological Park
Pickens County AL Courthouse
Wilson Dam
Local Points of Interest
Boil Weevil Statue
The Markers Market Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa River Market
Alabama Museum of Nnatural History
Berman Museum of World History
Cleburne County Mountain Center
F. Scott and Zelda Fizgerald Museum
Fort Mitchell Historic Site
Gorgas House Museum
Guntersville Museum
Hank Aaron Children Home and Museum
Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum
History Museum of Mobile
Jacksonville State Planetarium
Little River Canyon Center
Mildred Westervelv Waner Transportation Museum
Paul W Bryant Museum
Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
W.C.Handy Home
Natural Area
Burrnt Corn Creek Park
Frog Pond USA
Gulf State Park
Tigers for Tomorrow
Alabama Inshore Articial Reef
Alabama Offshore Article Reef Zone
Captain Jack Charters
Coleman Lake, Talladega National Forrest, Shoal Creek
Conecuh National Forest
Gees Bend on the Alabama River
Mount Cheaha State Park
Tombigbee River, Scenic Fossil Hunting
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

Additional sites may have been submitted, but not yet posted to:

Nominations are being accepted through July 15. Alabama attractions that are unique, such as local restaurants, wildlife and scenic trails, bed and breakfasts, historic attractions, fishing destinations, museums, artist galleries as well as events are encouraged to self nominate. To nominate your site, go to

For more information on Alabama nominations, contact Grey Brennan of the Alabama Tourism Department. or 334-242-4459

Lake Eufaula celebrates 50 years
Lake Eufaula is 50 years old and to celebrate this milestone, the City of Eufaula is throwing a huge event. On Sat., July 6, the Independence Day fireworks display will be held at Lakepoint State Park Resort at the marina. To make the 50th anniversary really special, there will be an all-day celebration, which will include the annual fireworks display. This exciting day will be complete with: craft vendors, children’s activities (to include water slide, etc), live music all day, great food provided by Lakepoint State Park, and a dunking booth.

This is a free event put together with the City of Eufaula and Lakepoint State Park – all are welcome to attend.

Karsner-Kennedy House in Florence gets new historic marker
On June 27, the Florence Historical Board unveiled a historic marker at the Karsner-Kennedy House, located at 301 North Pine Street.

The Karsner-Kennedy House was built in 1828 by Benjamin F. Karsner. The Florence Housing Authority restored the house to its original style and condition in 1971 and was sold to the City of Florence in 1974. The Florence Main Street office has been located in the house since it was established in 1992. The house is now open to the public.

Discovery Communications’ John Hendricks: from Huntsville to media mogul
by Lee Roop,, June 23
John Hendricks was a history student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the 1970s when he had an idea that would change television. Today, Hendricks is the founder and chairman of Discovery Communications, a worldwide empire with more than 100 channels and 1.5 billion viewers. Then, he was a work-study student helping his professors find documentaries to screen in their classes.

“As I was looking through all this volume of catalogs for documentary films that were available, I just had this question,” Hendricks said in an interview this month. “Why can’t this be on TV? That was in Huntsville at UAH. That was a lingering question that was on the road to the Discovery Channel.”

Hendricks looks back at building Discovery and growing up in Alabama during the space race and the Civil Rights Era in the new memoir “A Curious Discovery: An Entrepreneur’s Story” being published June 25, by HarperCollins. The book tells the stories behind some of the Discovery networks’ most popular shows, including “Trading Spaces,” “The Crocodile Hunter” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” and it’s a how-to manual for would-be entrepreneurs.

In the book, Hendricks writes about his bad business moves as well as his good ones, including the day Discovery faced bankruptcy because his sole source for a new round of funding said “no” at the last moment. “All that counted was the Chronicle investment was dead,” he writes, “and stupidly, I now realized, I had failed to use the intervening months to solicit any other investor prospects.”
“For something to be useful, people need to know the whole story,” Hendricks said this month. “If you’re going to have three or four successes in your life, you’ve probably had five to 10 significant failures.”

The book contains enough detail about Hendricks’ path to be studied at business schools, but a man who has worked with everyone from Walter Cronkite and “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin to Oprah Winfrey also has stories to tell. Among others, he recounts the terrible day he learned Irwin had died from stingray barb, and he takes readers inside his long, close relationship with Walter Cronkite.

For the entire article, go to:

Tourism director and UK journalist meet in Muscle Shoals
UK Telegraph journalist Mick Brown visited the Muscle Shoals area last week to interview music legends for a feature story to appear in the London based publication later this year. Welcoming Brown to the area was Alabama Tourism director Lee Sentell.

Brown interviewed Rick Hall of FAME Studios as well as Muscle Shoals “Swampers” David Hood, Jimmy Johnson and Rick Spooner for his feature that will be published to coincide with the documentary film Muscle Shoals release in United Kingdom theatres.

Sentell and Brown discussed the positive impact the article and film release will have on tourism in the area.

Brown visited historical sites including both locations of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, Helen Keller’s Birthplace and Home and the Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum.

The Telegraph is one of the largest publications in the United Kingdom with daily printed circulation of more than a half million and digital readership of eight million a month. Brown has written across a wide variety of cultural subjects for the Telegraph, and is the author of six books, the most recent being Tearing Down The Wall of Sound: The Rise And Fall of Phil Spector.


U.S. Space & Rocket Center included in 50 states in 30 days article

A joint American Airlines/Brand USA campaign, 50 states in 30 days, has already given the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville a boost on the American Airlines website. Now journalist Jonathan Tompson and photographer Mark Chives work has been published in the Independent, a publication in the UK with a circulation of more than 100,000 readers.

To see the Independent article, go to .

To see the American Airlines website posting, go to . Check out day 15.

For more information on Alabama’s international effort, contact Grey Brennan,

U.S. Space & Rocket Center promotes space exploration with exhibit in Tel Aviv
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center brings international attention to Huntsville again with the opening of a major space exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Rocket Center space suits, models and artifacts from Apollo, Space Station and Shuttle form the heart of the 15,000 square foot exhibition, along with trainers and cockpit interactives from Space Camp®. Dubbed “Space Mania,” the public exhibition in the heart of Tel Aviv’s tourist area will run through the end of Sept. Space & Rocket Center staff and Space Camp crew trainers on site will docent the show, along with show sponsors Hangar 11, the Ramon Foundation and others.

“This is the second of two major international exhibitions for the Rocket Center. The other is ‘NASA: A Human Adventure’ which opened in Amsterdam this month after highly successful shows in Copenhagen, Madrid, and Istanbul, reaching more than half a million people with the inspiration of Huntsville’s role in space exploration. We couldn’t be more excited to showcase Huntsville and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center along with Alabama’s contribution to manned space flight,” stated Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Huntsville/Madison County CVB unveils visitor display at Madison City Hall
Display to cross-promote multitude of local activities and events throughout Madison County
June 26, 2013
The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) unveiled a new visitor information display June 25, at Madison City Hall. The visitor information display includes a new brochure rack, featuring more than a dozen brochures with information about attractions across Madison County. The kiosk will also be home to an updated Madison rack card aimed to help Madison residents and visitors alike discover activities and events in the city of Madison and throughout the county.

The “Big City Feel, Small Town Charm” Madison rack card includes information on outdoor recreation, entertainment, festivals & events as well as dining and shopping offerings in the city of Madison. Both the rack card and the brochure rack can be found in the main lobby at Madison City Hall located at 100 Hughes Road in Madison, Alabama.

“The new Madison rack card and the addition of the brochure rack create a much needed comprehensive visitor information space here at Madison City Hall,” said Judy Ryals, President/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB. “Visitors to and residents of Madison now have a valuable resource close to home, where they can easily learn about the diverse entertainment, shopping and dining offerings in Madison and beyond.”

Madison City Council President Tommy Overcash was on hand for City of Madison Mayor Troy Trulock on Wednesday. Mayor Trulock spoke previously of the importance of the new visitor information display at Madison City Hall, especially as the city continues to grow.

“The city of Madison is bustling with unique things to do, places to see and dining. We are pleased to welcome this addition to Madison City Hall as a resource for visitors and residents alike, so they may discover all the many great activities and attractions that abound in Madison and our surrounding communities.”

Madison Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susie Masotti encouraged visitors to Madison City Hall to take advantage of the wealth of information to be found at the visitor information display.

“The City of Madison continues to offer residents and visitors a variety of options for entertainment, dining and lifestyle,” Masotti said. “We’re proud to partner with the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau to showcase Madison’s continued growth and development.”
For photos or more information, please contact Charles Winters, Executive Vice President at the Huntsville/Madison County CVB, at 256. 551. 2235 or by e-mail at

Birmingham has a mansion for the public
After renovation, the Hassinger Daniels Mansion opens for business.
by Wyatt Stayner, Weld for Birmingham, June 25
The Hassinger Daniels Mansion in Birmingham has opened to the public for the first time since 1898. The opening marks the beginning of a bed and breakfast and the end of a two-and-a-half year renovation.

“The renovation was much harder than our first one of Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast,” says Sheila Chaffin, owner of the Hassinger Daniels Mansion and Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast.

“It was built to be a residence and looks like a residence, so it’s an excellent conversion to a bed-and-breakfast,” Chaffin says.

Hassinger Daniels Mansion and Cobb Lane represent the B&B market in Birmingham. The next closest B&B is the Columbiana Inn Bed and Breakfast, located in Shelby County. While the market is meager, Chaffin enjoys the guests that her B&Bs attract.

The house, a Victorian mansion, sits in the middle of Highland Avenue’s “silk stocking neighborhood.” The neighborhood got its nickname because those who lived there were rich enough to afford “silk stockings.” While the moniker has stuck, the original Victorian decor that accompanied the neighborhood is mostly gone.

“There used to be a whole community of these houses,” says Chaffin. “Now there’s only two left.”
Hassinger Daniels’ ownership history has helped it outlive the other mansions. In the 115 years since being built, it has only had three owners. According to Chaffin, the continuity has squashed any chance the house would have been commercialized. Location is another aspect that has helped to extend its lifespan.

“Being in the middle of the block contributed to its preservation, since corner properties along principle roadways have the greatest pressure to commercialize first,” Chaffin says.
“The mansion is gorgeous, truly beautiful, in its restored condition,” Chaffin says. “We’re delighted to finally be open for business.”

The rooms range from $109-159 and the innkeepers are offering a 20% discount on all rooms during the months of July and August.

For the entire article, go to:

I ate a boatload of Gulf Coast seafood in Mobile
by Julie Zeveloff, Business Insider Australia, June 28
Before arriving in Mobile, Ala. for a weekend trip to see that the city’s not actually a miserable place, I received dozens of emails from Mobilians telling me I had to try the seafood while I was in town.

Mobilians take pride in their seafood, and with good reason: Crabs, oysters, shrimp, and fish arrive fresh from the Gulf of Mexico, a short trip down the Mobile River. There are dozens of restaurants in and around the city that serve seafood from the Gulf, and many have become famous for their preparations of dishes like gumbo, fried shrimp, and oysters Rockefeller.

The commercial seafood industry is a major local employer, providing 11,000 jobs in Alabama in 2011, according to the Alabama Seafood Marketing and Testing Program. And fishing is also a popular hobby for people who live around Mobile Bay.

I love seafood, and was blown away by some of the local delicacies (how come they don’t serve West Indies Salad up north?). But I also recalled reading some scary stories about Gulf seafood after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and wondered about the safety of the local seafood three years later.

Alabama started testing seafood from the Gulf shortly after the spill, and continues to conduct monthly tests of oysters, crabs, shrimp, and fish from local waters. So far, none of those samples have shown oil or dispersants above a government-mandated “level of concern,” said Chris Blankenship, the program administrator for the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission and the director of marine resources for Alabama.

He (John Hocevar, a marine biologist and the Oceans director at Greenpeace) did reassure me that I had no reason to worry after eating three straight days of seafood.

Disclosure: A couple of months ago, I included Mobile, Alabama on a list of the “most miserable cities in America,” based on Gallup data. Sandy Stimpson, a mayoral candidate in Mobile (#3 on the list) objected to my characterization, and offered to fly me down and show me how great the city really is. After a little prodding, I agreed to a visit. Stimpson paid my travel expenses and arranged my travel in the city. I’m not covering the mayoral race, but will be writing about my trip here.
To read the entire article, go to:

Birmingham is a prize in The Guardian’s competition for U.K. readers
The U.K. office for Alabama Tourism is working with leading specialist tour operator to the USA Virgin Holidays in a marketing opportunity with Brand USA and one of the largest U.K. newspapers The Guardian. Virgin Holidays included Birmingham in the campaign linked to a competition for Guardian readers to win a holiday to the Deep South.

This is now ‘live’ for two months and can be viewed on the Guardian’s U.K. website at: .
Traffic to grew by 25% last year to an estimated 40 million readers worldwide – a third in the U.K., a third in the U.S. and a final third in the rest of the world.

International travelers to U.S. post record numbers for April
By James Shillinglaw, June 16
The U.S. Department of Commerce, adding to the good news for tourism to the United States, reported spending by international visitors to the U.S. in April 2013 totaled nearly $14.5 billion, an increase of more than 5% when compared to April 2012. According to the department, international visitors have spent an estimated $57.9 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related services year to date in 2013 (Jan. through April), an increase of 8% when compared to the same period last year.

The Commerce Department also reported purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the U.S. totaled $11.2 billion during April. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel. Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors totaled nearly $3.3 billion for the month. Because of this the United States enjoyed a favorable balance of trade for the month of April in the travel and tourism sector, with a surplus of nearly $4.2 billion.

Overall for 2012, international travel and tourism spending reached a record $168.1 billion, up 10% from 2011. The increase was the result of a surge in international visitors to the United States: in 2012, a record 67 million international visitors came to the United States, an increase of 4.3 million from the year before.

For 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.

Thank you to those that came last year. You know how great the show was. If you didn’t sign up last year, join us this year.

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,

Start-up airline to begin Birmingham-to-Gulf Coast flights July 2
by Stan Diel,, June 25
Southern Airways Express, a Memphis-based low-cost airline, will begin daily flights to Gulf Coast airports from the Atlantic Aviation Terminal at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on July 2 and has plans to add flights to New Orleans and Memphis in September, the airline announced today. Flights to snow skiing destinations are expected to be added in the fall.

he Gulf Coast flights, on four refurbished nine-seat Cessna turboprops, will range in price from $129 to $249 each way with flights to Gulf Shores, Destin and Panama City. The carrier will fly to at least one of the three Gulf Coast airports and back daily.

Stan Little, the Hernando, Miss., attorney who launched the airline last month, said major route reductions by large carriers have created the opportunity for smaller startups. The airline began ticket sales on its website today and sold more tickets for Birmingham flights in three hours than are sold for Memphis flights daily, he said.

“Birmingham has been integral to our plans because of your location,” Little said. “We are delighted to be in Birmingham.”

The airline refurbished its used Cessna 208 Caravans and gave them technology upgrades, including color radar. Passengers, who will sit in leather seats, will be given Bose headphones and iPads loaded with TV shows and movies for the duration of the flights.

Flights to all of the Gulf Coast destinations will take about an hour and 15 minutes, including time taxiing, Little said. Because of the size of its airplanes and the frequency of its flights, passengers are not required to go through TSA security screening, and are asked to arrive just 15 minutes before scheduled flight times.

Passengers are limited to 50 lbs. of baggage each, though more will be allowed if the airplane can accommodate it. There are no fees for baggage, and parking is free at the Atlantic Aviation facility, which is on the east side of the airport near the Southern Museum of Flight.

“Once you’ve bought the ticket online, you’ve paid all that you’re going to have to pay,” Little said. “You can arrive at the airport without a dollar in your pocket.”

The airline will add a fifth plane to its fleet after Labor Day and has long-range plans to add more routes, he said.

“You’ll see more flights from Birmingham,” Little said.

Decatur’s star-spangled event named a top 20 event in the Southeast
Always held July 4, the Spirit of America Festival attracts thousands of families to Point Mallard Park in Decatur for some free star-spangled fun, awards, music, and games. Festival organizers are pleased to announce this year’s Spirit of America Festival has been named a Top 20 event for July by the Southeast Tourism Society (STS).

Following the crowning of the new Miss Point Mallard, the celebration culminates with a spectacular fireworks display. Freedom Is Not Free is the theme of the 2013 Spirit of America Fireworks display, one of the largest free fireworks exhibitions in the region.

For more information, including a schedule of events, visit and click on “Schedule” or visit its Facebook page.

Tourism official: red snapper regulations cost Alabama 1,600 job

Mobile, Local 15 NBC, June 27
Sitting before a congressional committee, a local Alabama tourism official spoke of jobs lost and a once-thriving recreational fishing industry on the decline.

He wasn’t pointing the finger at BP, but rather federal regulations on red snapper.

“An ever shortening season [has] had a huge negative economic impact on our family owned, small businesses,” Herb Malone, President of the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau said.
The House Committee on Natural Resources called a panel of Gulf Coast experts, ranging from marina operators to professional anglers.

Local anglers and some scientists have argued the red snapper population, one of the Gulf Coast’s most valuable fish species, has exploded in size. However, the National Marine Fisheries Service along with the Gulf Council has continued to shorten the season to protect red snapper from overfishing.

Malone, based out of Gulf Shores, told the committee Alabama’s $600 million recreational fishing industry started to tailspin after 2007 when the spring red snapper season was eliminated. Since 2007, the season length has shrunk from 194 days to just 28.

“2006 was our most productive year in coastal recreation fishing,” Malone said. “Over the next three years, from 2006-2009, we saw a 30% decline in the number of anglers, a 35% decline in charter trips, and a loss of 1,600 jobs.”

To see the article, go to:

Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism opens Aug. 18 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 excited to announce that we are bringing back the Wine Pull Fundraiser to the annual conference to be held August 17—20, 2013 in Huntsville. Last year we raised over $2,000 for our Hospitality and Tourism Industry “Scholarship Fund” and would like to double that in 2013. We will be adding a Craft Beer Pull 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 us 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 and we 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 us directly and we are happy to make pick up arrangements with you.

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

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events
Aug 4-7 Alabama Motorcoach/Georgia Motorcoach Operators/South Central Motorcoach Association, Birmingham
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 & January 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: