Alabama Tourism Department News April 22, 2014

  • USA TODAY: Jim ‘N Nick’s #1 and Moe’s #9 on list of best BBQ chains
  • Art of Alabama Food exhibit hits the road for New Orleans
  • Trails are important to tourism and Alabama is listening
  • Red Mountain Park featured by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • USA TODAY: Alabama’s Blue Spring Loop named one of nation’s top trails
  • Vote for Montgomery, Best Historic City
  • Civil Rights Tourism featured on Alabama Public Radio
  • ‘A Celebration of Reading’ bronze statue unveiled in Monroeville
  • Rick Hall and Swampers honored at Music Hall of Fame
  • Muscle Shoals Featured in UK Tour Company’s Traveller Magazine
  • Muscle Shoals music to star in commercial
  • State airing Muscle Shoals music TV ad
  • Muscle Shoals music package launched by the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa
  • Alabama booth at IPW appointment schedule packed
  • ConventionSouth magazine releases list of “99 Attractions in the South for Group Adventures”
  • Travel South International Showcase registration begins May 1
  • Nominations open for the ABA 2015 Top 100 Events in North America
  • Alabama Tourism Department to hold fall workshops
  • Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism Silent Auction
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


USA TODAY: Jim ‘N Nick’s #1 and Moe’s #9 on list of best BBQ chains
By Dan Myers, April 19

Barbecue is one of those foods that’s fiercely regional: beef in Texas, sweet sauce in Kansas City, and so on. But thankfully, there are plenty of chains out there that bring amazing barbecue all across the country, and we’ve rounded up 10 of them.

Chains tend to get bad raps in general, largely because they rely on production lines and cost-cutting measures to deliver food that’s as inexpensive and quickly-made as possible (think pizza chains versus actual pizza). But when it comes to barbecue, there’s really no corner-cutting. Because if you cut corners with barbecue — using low-grade meat, for example, or not smoking it for long enough — people will know. And, not only will they know, they’ll get angry. Because you can screw around with burgers or pizza, but you can’t screw around with barbecue.

All the owners of the chains on our list keep this fact close to heart, and it comes through in the food they serve. In order to assemble our ranking, we looked at dozens of barbecue restaurants with multiple locations all across the country, and ranked them according to the following criteria: local renown, consistency of the food across all locations, adherence to traditional barbecue techniques like “low and slow” on-premises smoking, atmosphere and, most importantly, if the food tastes good.

Choosing a favorite type of barbecue is a subjective matter, but I think we can all agree on the fact then when done right, there’s nothing on earth that’s more delicious. And while some of these chains might specialize in Texas-style barbecue and others focus on St. Louis, we should be mighty thankful that they’ve decided to expand and grace parts of the country that might otherwise not have access to great barbecue with their presence. So strap in and get ready to learn about the 10 best barbecue chains in America.

1. Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q
If you’re going to open a chain of barbecue restaurants in the Carolinas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Colorado, you better make sure that your product is on-point. A visit to Jim ‘N Nick’s, which was founded by a father-son duo in 1985 in Birmingham, Ala., and now has 30 locations, will show you that this is the real deal. Perennial exhibitors at best-of-the-best showcases like New York’s Big Apple BBQ Block Party, they’re smoking their own pork (sold pulled or chopped with a vinegary Carolina-style sauce), spare and baby back ribs, house-cured bone-in ham, legendary housemade pork hot links, chicken, turkey breast and beef brisket, and serving it with a big dose of Southern hospitality. They also offer a killer hickory-grilled burger and pimento cheese sandwich, but honestly, you’re going to want to reserve all the room in your stomach for this crazy-good barbecue.

9. Moe’s Original Bar B Que
With more than 30 locations centered in Alabama and Colorado, Moe’s is doing barbecue right. It was founded by three friends from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and since 2001, it has grown from a small slopeside catering operation to a barbecue destination. They still offer catering, but a trip to any of their restaurants is sure to be a good time, and is also a great primer in Alabama-style barbecue. Pork and chicken are the showcased items, topped with the signature Alabama white barbecue sauce, but the Angus beef brisket, hot links, St. Louis spare ribs and fried catfish are also worth saving room for.

To read the article and see the other eight chains listed, go to:

Art of Alabama Food exhibit hits the road for New Orleans
By Bob Carlton,, April 14

The Art of Alabama Food, a traveling photo exhibit inspired by the state tourism department’s “100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama Before You Die,” is now on display at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans.
Hours for the exhibit are noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, through Sunday, April 27, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, April 28.

The exhibit made its debut in New York City in the gallery at Chelsea Market during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII.

Photographer Becky Luigart-Stayner’s exhibit includes images of 36 dishes featured in the “100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama Before You Die” brochure and on the mobile app.

“With a large pool of culinary talent and innovative restaurants, it’s an exciting time for Alabama food,” Alabama Tourism Department director Lee Sentell said in a press release. “We want to share a taste of that with our neighbors in the South and invite them to take a road trip to Alabama, where they can experience our unique food culture for themselves.”

After New Orleans, The Art of Alabama Food exhibit will be on display at the Mall at Green Hills in Nashville May 12-18, and at Lenox Square in Atlanta May 26-June 1.

To read the article online and view images from The Art of Alabama Food exhibit, go to:

Trails are important to tourism and Alabama is listening

State Tourism Director Lee Sentell spoke to more than 175 trails advocates from across Alabama for the 3rd Alabama Trails Conference held at Lake Guntersville State Park. Sentell spoke about celebrating Alabama’s growing trails community commemorating the 75th Year of Alabama State Parks and he unveiled the “Birding AL” smart phone app, the newest in a growing list of smart phone applications geared to help the traveling public enjoy Alabama’s outdoors.

The “Birding AL” app, developed for the Alabama Tourism Department by students at the University of Alabama, showcases Alabama’s best birding locations, from the top of Alabama’s highest point to the tip of Dauphin Island. With more than 430 bird species documented in Alabama, there’s more to see here than you can imagine.

Watching a Bald Eagle feeding babies in the nest near Guntersville State Park or sitting quietly as dozens of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks literally crash-land into the nearest tree on Dauphin Island.  These are just two of the locations along this series of eight trails and 270 stops.

To learn more about Alabama’s birding trails, visit and like them on Facebook, You’ll find links to both Android and Iphone apps at With these apps, you’ll be able to find the ten sites nearest you and discover a whole new natural Alabama.

Red Mountain Park featured by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
By Mark Kelly, Rails to Trails, Spring/Summer

Birmingham’s Red Mountain Park is touted for its 11 miles of forested hiking/biking trails in this article, which appears on pages 29-31 in the Spring/Summer edition of the Rails-to-Trails magazine/mailer.  The magazine is a product of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Washington, D.C.

To see the magazine and read the article, go to:

USA TODAY: Alabama’s Blue Spring Loop named one of nation’s top trails
Katie Rosenbrock, USA TODAY, April 22

Blue Spring Loop, Conecuh National Forest Wing, Ala.  The entire Conecuh Forest Trail extends over 20 miles of dense, Deep South forest, but the Blue Spring Loop allows hikers to experience all the landscape has to offer within a 6.1-mile circuit. Described as a hilly hike, this route ascends through elevated woods and drops down towards streams, swamps and ponds.

A diverse display of vegetation and wildlife will have you on the lookout for longleaf pines, turkey oaks, otters, snakes, and even alligators.

To read the entire article, go to:

Vote for Montgomery, Best Historic City

Montgomery and Annapolis are in a close race for USA TODAY’s Readers’ Choice Contest for Best Historic City.
There’s still time to rock the vote or secure your nominee’s top spot by sending voters to

You may vote once a day, and voting is open until Mon., April 28, at 10:59 a.m.

Civil Rights Tourism featured on Alabama Public Radio
By Pat Duggins, Alabama Public Radio, April 17

There are many reasons people visit Alabama, to see sporting events, the space connection in Huntsville or the beaches along the gulf coast. However, civil rights tourism is often overlooked by the masses. This dark time in the state’s history is drawing visitors from all over. Visitors like Betty and Phil Histon from Corvallis, Oregon. They’re in Alabama, like many tourists, to try the local barbecue and the see the sites. When we met them they were in the Civil Rights Interpretive Center is Selma.

“We have heard of the Civil Rights Movement since we were children and wanted to see where some of these things took place, a part of history we wanted to see and be a part of.”
The Histons are not alone.  Lee Sentell, tourism director for the State of Alabama, says the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham draws in around 150,000 people a year. The business is so big it’s enough for three cities to fight over.

“There is no agreement in this state as to which city owns the Civil Rights Movement. People in Montgomery think that everything happened in the Montgomery area, people in Birmingham think only the major events happened in Birmingham, so Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery are three cities where more tourists visit because that is where the landmarks are.”

If visiting iconic sites from the civil rights era as a tourist sounds unusual, you may be shocked to know, former Governor George Wallace helped get civil rights tourism going. The same George Wallace who stood in the schoolhouse door on the University of Alabama’s campus in 1963. He was convinced by Edd Hall, the tourism director at the time that if Alabama did not try to tell its story, then somebody else would. Every year civil rights supporters gather at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to re-enact what is known as “Bloody Sunday.” That was when demonstrators fighting for the voting rights act were attacked by police officers. This year’s event was especially big, since 2013 marks fifty years after pivotal moments like the stand at the school house door in Tuscaloosa and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. This year the event drew civil rights leaders like Congressman John Lewis, the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. It also had current leaders like U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Joe Biden. Those in attendance have the opportunity to cross the bridge, many sing as they do, following in the footsteps of those who continue to fight for equality. Selma’s mayor, George Patrick Evans says events like this are very important to his city. He says people need to remember what happened in the past so they can move forward.

“It helps the economy naturally, that’s one way to look at it. It helps to promote the city of Selma as being the Queen City of the Black Belt. All of the history of 1965 and what happened here years ago, folks like to come back and be reminded of what happened.”

Join us in the coming weeks as we take a look at other sites along Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail.
To see this article online, go to:

‘A Celebration of Reading’ bronze statue unveiled in Monroeville

By and Press-Register staff

A project six years in the making was unveiled April 17 on Monroeville’s Courthouse Square when the bronze sculpture “A Celebration of Reading” was revealed by the Monroeville/Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.
The sculpture, designed by Birmingham artist Branko Medenica, depicts three children centered around a bench reading a book.

The project was the brainchild of state tourism Director Lee Sentell, who said he has personally witnessed the large number of families, children and individuals who travel to Monroeville, seeking the Literary Capital of Alabama on the Southern Literary Trail. The Monroeville committee, under the joint leadership of Mayor Mike Kennedy and Judge Greg Norris, selected Medenica as the artist after a rigorous selection process.

“We saw this as a place for quiet reflection and introspection, and also an opportunity for taking photographs with the courthouse and its distinctive dome in the background,” Kennedy said.

The new landscape on the southwest section of the square incorporates a new camellia trail utilizing the existing camellias that were planted by the Men’s Camellia Club in 1949, along with the addition of new and native plantings.

“The challenge with this project has been to capture that special quality of timelessness that is so prevalent when studying ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and other literary works, which transcend language and cultural barriers,” said Medenica. “I feel like this sculpture could be anywhere, and it would speak to those who see it as a celebration of childhood innocence and a celebration of reading. The fact that it is in Monroeville, Alabama’s Literary Capital, should speak volumes.”

To read this article online, go to:

Rick Hall and Swampers honored at Music Hall of Fame
By Steve Wiggins,, April 16

What a year this has been for Muscle Shoals Music.

  • An award-winning documentary film;
  • The revival of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
  • The Hall of Fame Induction Banquet.
  • And the elevation to rarified air of all the musicians, producers and writers who have toiled here since the days of a mono-track Ampex recorder in a spare room at James Joiner’s dad’s bus station in the early 1950′s.

Yep. And it doesn’t look like things are slowing down.

Over at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia, Alabama Tourism Director, Lee Sentell, held a special presentation honoring Rick Hall and the Swampers. Additionally, Spooner Oldham, a multiple Grammy Award winner, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a recent inductee into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame was brought up to the podium to be recognized for his unique body of work over the last 50 years.

In honor of the TV debut, all four local mayors have proclaimed April 21-26 as “Muscle Shoals Music Week.”
This was part of a presentation to announce that the film, “Muscle Shoals” will be aired on Alabama Public
Television this month. On Thur., April 24, footage from the Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction banquet will air on APT at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a  showing of the documentary.

For article and pictures, go to:

Muscle Shoals featured in UK tour company’s Traveller magazine

Wexas, a high end United Kingdom tour company, produces their own travel magazine three times a year.  The magazine’s deputy editor, Freddie Reynolds, recently visited the Muscle Shoals area for a feature.   The result is a just released a five-page article in the Traveller magazine on southern music with a full page and a half on Muscle Shoals.

The article includes a suggested trip in which Reynolds writes, “…stop off in Muscle Shoals and Florence, home to numerous musical delights – the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, FAME studios, a W.C. Handy museum – and a perfect Frank Lloyd Wright house.”

In his list of suggestions as to where to stay, Reynolds tells readers, “Marriott Shoals, Florence.  Smart hotel located on the north bank of the Tennessee River, a five-minute drive to the centre of Florence and close to Muscle Shoals. The Swampers Bar is popular with locals and the 360 Grille is situated at the top of a revolving tower.”
In the feature, Reynolds writes about his first stop in the area. “When I got to Muscle Shoals, I dropped right through and headed for a restaurant in neighboring Tuscumbia, where I was “WELCOME!” and welcomed to Alabama by a boisterous lady in an apron. I ate corn bread salad from a paper bowl and gulped reservoirs of ice teas as the town’s mayor took a seat across the room.”

Later in the article Reynolds discusses his tour of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, “…I got in my car and drove to meet Dick Cooper at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.  Rooms and rooms of discs and guitar strings, posters, pamphlets and signed photographs, but Dick was, to me, the main event.  He’d come to Muscle Shoals in the Seventies as a journalist and eaten up most of the roles the music industry offers – manager, producer, engineer, publisher and now curator of the Hall of Fame.”

On FAME studios, Reynolds writes, “…I drove round to the FAME Studio, which used to sit in the middle of a field, and now perches at the busy corner of Woodward and Avalon. Sessions started at 10, so I turned up an hour earlier and waited for John Grifford to take me round. Passing under a sign that confirmed us to be “the finished musicians, songwriters, artists and producers in the world,” John splashed thin black coffee from a large mug and led us round sound booths and Hammond organs and together we ogled at a Wurlitzer played by Spooner Oldham.”

The link to Wexas’ Alabama music self-drive tour is:

Muscle Shoals music to star in commercial
By Russ Corey,, April 15

State Tourism Director Lee Sentell announced that a new commercial promoting Muscle Shoals music will be seen in 40 television markets throughout the South and Midwest.

The commercial, which features FAME Recording Studios founder Rick Hall and members of The Swampers rhythm section, debuted Monday on Alabama Public Television.

Sentell said the commercial also features footage from FAME studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.
There will be one version shown on Raycom television stations and another version that will run on APT.

The commercial will also be shown on Tennessee Public Television, Sentell said.

State airing Muscle Shoals music TV ad
By Russ Corey,, April 15

Tim and Bernie Davis have traveled all over the United States and said they’ve experienced Southern hospitality.
But what they’ve experienced the past week has gone well beyond Southern hospitality, they said.

The Davises are from Ontario, Canada, and planned a trip to the Shoals after watching the documentary “Muscle Shoals,” which focuses on the early days of the Muscle Shoals music industry.

The couple loaded up their RV, attached a pickup and a trailer for two motorcycles, and headed to Alabama. They’ve been touring local attractions, such as FAME Recording Studios, and used their motorcycles for a ride to Tupelo, Miss., where they toured the boyhood home of Elvis Presley.

Bernie Davis said people in the Shoals have helped them find hidden treasures off the beaten path.
On Tuesday, they were at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia and met three architects of the Muscle Shoals sound — FAME Recording Studios founder Rick Hall, session guitarist Jimmy Johnson and keyboardist Spooner Oldham.

The men were there for an unveiling of a new photograph banner of Hall and The Swampers — Johnson, David Hood and Roger Hawkins. State Tourism Director Lee Sentell said the banner, however, was damaged by high winds overnight.

Despite the banner’s loss, Sentell had good news to share with the Davises and two dozen fans who braved brisk April weather to attend the event at the hall of fame.

“We have a brand new TV commercial that will be shown in 40 TV markets around the South and the Midwest and it’s about Muscle Shoals music,” Sentell said. “It shows The Swampers. It shows Rick Hall. It shows FAME studios. It shows 3614.”

The commercial also features the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

The commercial premiered Monday on Alabama Public Television. Sentell said there is one version that will run on APT and another that will run on Raycom Television Stations. Sentell said the commercial also began airing Monday on Tennessee Public Television.

“This is great exposure for the music industry and great exposure for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame,” Sentell said.

The event Tuesday was also used to kick off Muscle Shoals Music Week in the Shoals, which begins Monday with the debut of “Muscle Shoals” at 8 p.m. on APT. On April 24, footage from the Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction banquet will be shown on APT at 7 p.m.

Larry Bowser, general manager of the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa in Florence, announced a Muscle Shoals Music package that lets visitors experience the Shoals’ musical heritage while staying at a four-star hotel. For $199, visitors receive a one-night stay at the hotel, two tickets to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and FAME studios, a copy of the “Muscle Shoals” DVD and the movie soundtrack, and two Muscle Shoals music related T-shirts.
Bowser said the hotel has been a supporter of the local music scene since it opened. Swampers Lounge, in the hotel, features numerous photos of Muscle Shoals music legends and features live music seven days a week.

On Friday, Oldham was honored with a bronze star in the hall of fame lobby. Oldham is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in February.
Meanwhile, the Davises continue touring local sights. They said there are others in Ontario who are planning a visit to the Shoals.

“What has been rewarding to us is meeting all the local artists who have been very kind and sharing their time with us,” Tim Davis said. “The artists have been tremendous.”
See the link at:

Muscle Shoals music package launched by the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa

Music lovers from around the world know the music from Muscle Shoals. Now they can come experience it for themselves through a new music themed package at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa. To quote the Staple Singers, “I’ll Take You There,” and the Marriott Shoals will welcome them with legendary Four Diamond service.

The Muscle Shoals Music package at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa includes: Deluxe guest room with one king or two queen beds and views of the Tennessee River; the DVD and soundtrack to the Muscle Shoals documentary; two tickets to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame; admission for two to Fame Studios; two t-shirts highlighting the rich music history of Muscle Shoals; the package is $199 per night and will be available at

“Having recently completed a $3.5 million renovation to the hotel, we thought the timing was perfect to launch this new package in partnership with Alabama Tourism,” said Larry Bowser, general manager of the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa. “Muscle Shoals music is an important component of the region and our hotel. In our renovations, we added new musical artifacts to help this story,” said Bowser. “From the Rolling Stones to the Civil Wars, more than 30 new images of musicians who have recorded in the area have been added to the décor in Swamper’s Bar & Grill. With the reopening of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, the Muscle Shoals documentary and new investments in local recording studios, the music industry in this area is thriving and we are delighted to be a part of it. On any given day you may see a music legend or an up-and-comer walking down our halls and we want to give each of them the best hospitality experience possible.”

The Marriott Shoals is located in Florence on the shores of the Tennessee River near Wilson Dam. With 200 guest rooms, two restaurants, a world-class spa and more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel consistently ranks among Marriott’s best for guest satisfaction, dining, spa, golf and luxury.

Alabama booth at IPW appointment schedule packed

In front of a backdrop of large photographs of Alabama’s major tourism themes, a group of 6 tourism officials from Alabama held 70 meetings at the International Pow Wow showcase in Chicago earlier this month.

One of the appointments was with Doug Kellogg, Contracting Manager of Tourmappers.  This receptive operators company increased their listings of Alabama hotels, resulting in increased bookings. For the first 3 months of 2014 they booked 119 room nights in Alabama as compared to 33 for all of 2013.

A representative from Grand American Adventures, a UK adventure company with a target market of 40-65 age group, said they will be adding Muscle Shoals to their suggested trips for 2015 while at the Alabama booth.  This company already includes Birmingham in two of their suggested trips.

The leading wholesalers of attraction tickets in the United Kingdom, Attraction World, agreed to look at adding five attractions in Alabama’s top five tourism cities during their meeting at IPW.  The company does more than $5 million of USA attraction sales in the United Kingdom per year and reports their business is up 80% for the year.

Grey Brennan and Della Tully, from the Alabama Tourism Department, were joined by Sara Hamilin of the Greater Birmingham CVB, Jennifer Moore of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB, Debbie Wilson of Florence/Lauderdale Tourism and Stacy Hamilton of the Mobile Bay CVB in the Alabama booth.

For more information on Alabama Tourism Department’s international effort, contact Grey Brennan, 334-242-4459,

ConventionSouth magazine releases list of “99 Attractions in the South for Group Adventures”

The editors of ConventionSouth magazine have selected 99 attractions located across 16 states in the South and the Caribbean Seas Region where groups can find unique adventures.  These elite attractions can be found online at and on Pinterest at

“The attractions on this elite list are some of the coolest and provide the most memorable adventure attractions for groups,” said ConventionSouth Associate Publisher and Editor Marlane Bundock. “They range in types from amusement parks and racetracks where attendees can experience hair-raising adventures to outdoor wonderlands where groups can go exploring on a back-to-nature journey. Meeting planners and the attendees they serve are seeking one-of-a-kind experiences that these adventure attractions provide. By planning a group excursion at these venues, planners can increase event participation and fulfillment, therefore seeing a higher return on their investment.”

The nine Alabama sites are:
5 Rivers-Alabama Delta Resource Center, Spanish Fort
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham
Bellingrath Gardens & Home, Theodore
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Orange Beach Flyboard
Huntsville Botanical Garden
Oak Hollow Farms, Fairhope
Talladega Superspeedway
U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville

The process to place attractions on the list was based on editors’ reviews of hundreds of attractions from across 16 states in the South and the Caribbean. Each was reviewed for their ability to provide groups with a unique adventure experience and their ability to host groups and events in general.

Of the 99 attractions on the list, editors are now working to select 16 extraordinary places to feature in the June issue of ConventonSouth magazine. Editors will be selecting four attractions from each of the following categories: Aquatic Adventures, Need For Speed, Back To Nature, and Theme Parks to Play. Editors are currently seeking recommendations from readers on what facilities to feature with expanded coverage in the June issue. Editors will be keeping the special 16 attractions a secret until the June issue is released to meeting planners. Meeting and event planners may register for a free subscription to ConventionSouth at

Travel South International Showcase registration begins May 1

Hosted by the Alabama Tourism Department and ten other southern states, the Travel South International Showcase will mark its 3rd year as a regional marketplace in December.  More than 100 qualified International tour operators from over 15 countries around the globe will join over 160 Southern travel suppliers in New Orleans this year.

Travel South has already announced that they anticipate their International Showcase in New Orleans will sell out quickly.  The show dates are December 1-4, 2014.

The show sold out last year and one of the other Travel South state representative has already announced many of the cities and towns in their state that have not attended in the past are planning to be ready to register on May 1 to grab registrations that may have gone to other destinations in the past.

If you have not attended Travel South International, but thought about showcasing your destination to the international market this year, be ready to register on May 1.

To watch a short you tube video on the tourism marketplace that includes remarks by Tuscaloosa’s Tina Jones, go to

Travel South International supplier tables for CVBs, attractions and hotels, can contain up to 3 registrants, with a slight price break per person if the table contains the maximum 3. Here is a link for pricing:

Travel South has said preference will be given to full table registrations.  Those will be confirmed first, with tables with less than full registrations not confirmed until a later date if at all.

In order to properly register, you will need to know who will be at your table.  Therefore, plan now and be ready to spring into action on May 1 or shortly thereafter.

For more information, contact Grey Brennan, Alabama Tourism Department 334-242-4459 or Liz Bittner, Travel South USA , 404-231-1790.

Nominations open for the ABA 2015 Top 100 Events in North America

Nominations are open for the American Bus Association (ABA) 2015 Top 100 Events.  These events bring group tours to your area, so share this with all your networks.

Please note that all ABA members are eligible to submit ten nominations for the 2015 Top 100.  ABA non-members can submit one nomination for a fee which is then refunded if they join the association in 2014.

The deadline for all nominations is Wed., May 7.

For more information about ABA’s Top 100 nomination process, visit or call1- 800-283-2877 or e-mail

Alabama Tourism Department to hold fall workshops

Mark your calendar to attend the Alabama Tourism Department Workshops in Montgomery, Oct. 7, and in Birmingham, Oct. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The workshops are for new tourism industry members, event organizers and anyone interested in enhancing tourism in their area. Come and learn about the many programs and services the tourism department offers.

For additional information, please contact Rosemary Judkins at: 334-242-4493 or email: Rosemary.Judkins@Tourism.Alabama.Gov.

Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism Silent Auction

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 raised more than $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.   Scholarships will be awarded during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, August 19-22 at the Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center.

To make a Silent Auction Donation please visit:

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

Awards nominations are open.  For awards listings and more information, contact Cynthia Flowers,

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

April 25                      Annual Spring Walking Tours
May 1                          Sumter Welcome Center Tourism Day
May 2                          Cleburne Welcome Center Tourism Day
May 3-6                      Alabama League of Municipalities, Mobile
May 8                          Lanett Welcome Center Tourism Day
May 9                          Houston Welcome Center Tourism Day
May 22                        Baldwin Welcome Center Tourism Day
May 23                        Grand Bay Welcome Center Tourism Day
May 29                        DeKalb Welcome Center Tourism Day
May 30                        Ardmore Welcome Center Tourism Day
July 19-22                   Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Auburn
Sept. 7-14                   World Leisure Congress, Mobile

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:

To subscribe to the weekly Alabama Tourism News,
please contact Peggy Collins at:
Alabama Tourism Department