Tourism Tuesdays September 9, 2014

  • UK Titan Tours blogs about Alabama
  • Tuscaloosa makes the list for the best cities for work-life balance
  • Gees Bend quilters attract international tour
  • Seventeen million Brazilians to see Alabama photos
  • State Parks expand dog-friendly accommodations
  • Inaugural 9/11 Honor Walk coming to Space & Rocket Center
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


UK Titan Tours blogs about Alabama   

The large UK escorted tour company, Titan, has posted a Highlights of Alabama article on Titan Blog where their customers go to find stories and ideas to inspire their next trip and learn more about destinations before they go.

The blog, written by Richard Watkins, is part of their Scenic Route articles.

Watkins’ article highlights Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville and The Shoals area and includes two photographs of the Alabama State Capitol building and a photo of himself in a U.S. Space & Rocket Center flight simulator wearing his Space Camp uniform.

Writing about Montgomery, Watkins says, “Alabama’s compact capital, Montgomery, was voted the USA’s ‘Best Historic City’ in 2014 by readers of USA Today, and the deep sense of history here is palpable.”  Watkins then continues with a narrative on Montgomery’s Civil Rights and Civil War attractions.

In Birmingham, Watkins pointed out the city’s Civil Rights history, but also included other sites. “One of the city’s biggest attractions is the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, displaying more than 1,300 vintage motorcycles and racing cars. Today, Birmingham is a bustling, vibrant city with some superb dining choices; the award-winning Ocean Restaurant is an excellent place for seafood …” wrote Watkins.

Watkins was impressed with Huntsville’s attractions. “One of the more unexpected highlights of Alabama can be found in Huntsville – the awe-inspiring US Space & Rocket Center. “  Watkins then added later in his Huntsville section, “There’s more to see in Huntsville itself, too, including the rotating exhibitions at the Huntsville Museum of Art, while the city’s Twickenham Historic District boasts Alabama’s best collection of elegant antebellum homes…”

Watkins also visited the Shoals area, where he wrote, “This is the home of the legendary FAME Recording Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where the stars of Rock, Soul and R ‘n’ B created some of the most influential music of the last half century. Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Rolling Stones all recorded hits here and the 2013 movie ‘Muscle Shoals’ has revived interest in the remarkable history of these studios, which offer guided tours. The nearby Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the WC Handy Museum, dedicated to the man known as the ‘Father of the Blues’ mean that this is a highly popular stopover for music fans.”

To see Watkin’s complete blog, go to

Titan offers a Southern Musical Medley tour that includes Florence.

Titan tours also offers a Southern Spectacular tour that includes Montgomery.

Watkins was part of a summer FAM hosted by the Alabama Tourism Department, local tourism destinations and hotels conducted by Grey Brennan and Della Tully.

Tuscaloosa makes the list for the best cities for work-life balance
By Kathryn Dill,, Aug. 5

Forbes recently took a look at the jobs and companies that are providing employees great work-life balance, exploring jobs as varied as SEO Specialist and lifeguard, at companies ranging from Wegmans to Google GOOGL -0.05%. But where should workers considering relocation seek career opportunities and the chance at a thriving personal life?

A recent report by personal finance site NerdWallet took a look at the weekly hours worked by full-time, year-round workers in the 536 largest cities across the country, along with commute time, income, and cost of living to determine the cities that offer employees the best and worst chances at healthy work-life balance. To determine each city’s score, NerdWallet used data from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

NerdWallet analyst Divya Raghavan says the list favors cities with low costs of living, low competition for housing, and grounded economies.

No. 5 Tuscaloosa:

Mean weekly hours worked: 33.1
Mean travel time to work (in minutes): 17.6
Median earnings: $32,274
Median gross rent: $696

To see the entire list and pictures of the best & worst cities, go to:

To read the entire article online, go to:

Gees Bend quilters attract international tour 

Two bus-loads of international quilters have signed up for a tour across the south that includes a visit to Alabama and the Gees Bend quilters.  The international group arrives in October.

There are 52 quilters on the tour; 31 from Australia, 2 from New Zealand, 12 from Germany, 5 from the U.S., 1 each from Venezuela and Switzerland.

The group arrives in Atlanta for several quilting stops in Marietta and Carrollton and then heads to Alabama.  In Montgomery they will visit the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art for a private showing of a unique collection of more than 60 African American quilts, primarily created by Alabamians.  Then the group travels to Selma to overnight at the St. James Hotel for two nights. The Talley Ho is a suggested dinner stop in Selma.

From Selma the group will depart for a full-day excursion to Camden and Gee’s Bend to see the Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center, a trip to Gaines Ridge Dinner Club, a stop at the Old Shoe Shop Museum, ferry across the Alabama River and visit with the famous Gee’s Bend quilters.

Also in Alabama the group will visit Monroeville for a “To Kill a Mockingbird” experience before heading off to Louisiana and then Texas for the International Quilt Festival.

Grey Brennan of the Alabama Tourism Department worked with tour company NATO Ltd to secure Alabama’s inclusion on this tour.

Seventeen million Brazilians to see Alabama photos

If you were in an elevator in Brazil there is a good chance you would see travel information from Alabama.   The Brazilian travel company Travel Therefore I Am partnered with Elemidia, a company with small video screens inside elevators in business buildings in Brazil, to produce images from around the world.

Rachel Spencer of Travel Therefore I Am recently visited Montgomery and Huntsville on a southern tour.

After that visit Alabama images became part of the video shown to the captive Brazilian elevator audience.

The video slide presentation is a series of photos from Around the World with a one line of copy.  The text in Portuguese reads, “Around the world: in Montgomery, USA, it is possible to visit the church where Martin Luther King used to give speeches”, “Around the world: In Montgomery, USA, it is possible to visit the house where Martin Luther King used to live”, “USA: Space Camp, in Huntsville, allows you to get to know about the astronauts, spaceships and test simulators.”  Colorful photographs of Rosa Park’s historical marker in front of the museum in her honor, a post card of Martin Luther King and the street scene at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Parsonage from Montgomery along with a view of the space shuttle at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville are displayed with the text.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center has exhibited with Travel South USA at WTM Brazil, a tourism tradeshow and Travel South works with TourismBrazil, a tourism representative firm.

State Parks expand dog-friendly accommodations

Starting Sept. 15, dog owners will have more overnight options when visiting certain Alabama State Parks. Currently, well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome in designated day-use areas and in a limited variety of overnight accommodations including all campgrounds at Alabama’s 22 state parks. The expanded dog-friendly policy will apply to certain cabins, cottages and lodge rooms at Joe Wheeler, Lakepoint, Gulf and Guntersville state parks.

During the Alabama State Parks 75th anniversary, parks staff have implemented a series of improvements aimed at providing visitors with more enjoyable experiences. The expanded dog-friendly accommodations are in response to public interest in more pet-friendly options.

“Our visitors have spoken and we have listened,” said Greg Lein, State Parks Director. “These changes provide for dogs in all forms of overnight lodging at various parks rather than just one section of a respective park. For example, Lakepoint will now have designated cabins, cottages and lodge rooms for guests traveling with dogs. In the past, only a few older cabins were available to dog owners.”

Visitors traveling with dogs should contact the park prior to their stay. An additional $15 fee is charged per dog for overnight accommodations. There is a two-dog limit at certain parks. Service dogs are welcome in all facilities at no additional charge. For a complete list of Alabama State Parks with dog-friendly accommodations, visit

The Alabama State Parks Division operates and maintains 22 state parks encompassing approximately 48,000 acres of land and water. These Parks rely on visitor fees and the support of other Partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. To learn more about Alabama State Parks, visit

Inaugural 9/11 Honor Walk coming to Space & Rocket Center

Still Serving Veterans, Soldier 1 Corporation, Turning Point Consultants LLC, Distinct Grace, Blue Star Veterans, and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, have teamed up and will be bringing to Huntsville the inaugural “9/11 Honor Walk: Remember. Heal. Celebrate,” on Sept. 13, from noon to 5 p.m. at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.  The event is free with preregistration and will bring the community together to remember and honor all those affected by the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

On Sept. 11, 2001, our world changed in an instant. We were handed a stunning tragedy the reverberations of which still echo in our lives today. With enormous dedication and courage first responders rushed into burning towers and into the Pentagon.  Passengers took down a commercial jet to save others.  Others too, bore an incredibly disproportionate share of our country’s response to the attacks.  Our military and their families, with enormous heroism, absorbed the consequences for us all with costs we cannot imagine.  On Sept. 13, we honor them.

The Honor Walk is no ordinary walk; it’s a labyrinth walk that is modest yet reflective.  The 60 by 60-foot labyrinth is a simple path leading in a circular fashion to a center and then back out again under the Pathfinder Space Shuttle at the USSRC.  As in life, there are many twists and turns and this ancient pattern can make visible and concrete the interior journey of those who walk it.  Following the walk will be the celebration that will feature music from local bands JED Eye, Distinct Grace, and The Reps.

Tickets to the event are free with pre-registration and include access to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s museum. Attendees without tickets will be required to pay museum entry or register at the door in order to access the event. Visit to register.

Media Contact: Shannon Drake,, (256) 883-7035.

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Oct. 7                          Tourism Workshop, Montgomery
Oct. 9                          Tourism Workshop, Birmingham
Nov. 3 – 6                  World Travel Market, London, England
Dec. 2 – 4                   Travel South International Showcase, New Orleans
Dec. 5 – 8                   Travel South International Super FAM to Alabama



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.

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