Tourism Tuesdays June 16, 2015

  • Tourism book wins national advertising award
  • Books-A-Million presents “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Alabama Theatre
  • names the Top 10 Travel’s Best: All-American Vacations for 2015
  • Auburn University professor pens book on golf course designer Robert Trent Jones
  • The Hotel at Auburn University appoints Leonardo Maurelli III as executive chef
  • ShrimpFest and BBQ to benefit Lakepoint State Park on June 27
  • The 2015 Southern Living Food Awards
  • Alabama’s oldest restaurant celebrates 108th birthday
  • The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints
  • The world recognizes Birmingham is an essential destination city
  • Selma Tourism will unveil audio tours of 75 historic sites
  • Jackson Nance returns to help music hall of fame
  • Nominations are open for the 2015 Tourism Awards
  • 2015 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism
  • Search is on for Alabama Barbecue Restaurants
  • Alabama artists and craftspeople
  • 2016 Vacation Guide & Calendar of Event deadlines
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Tourism book wins national advertising award

The American Advertising Federation presented the national Silver Addy award for book design to Luckie & Company for Alabama Civil Rights Trail, a publication developed with the Alabama Tourism Department.

The entry won Best of Show/Print at the Birmingham chapter of the American Advertising Federation Awards in February. That winning entry enabled it to move on to the District 7 Addys, which included creative entries from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The publication won gold at the District 7 competition in March and moved on to the national American Advertising Federation competition. In total, 60 categories attracted some 40,000 entries for the three-tier competition.

The book features vintage photographs matched with contemporary images of churches and other landmarks where African-Americans challenged racial barriers in the 1950s and 1960s. Former Southern Living photographer Art Meripol collaborated with Luckie to copy perspectives of the historic photos and show how seven iconic landmarks are essentially unchanged since the civil rights era.

The publication features three Baptist churches on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage site status, including Birmingham’s 16th Street and Bethel Baptist churches, and Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue church where Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor. Other sites profiled are the Edmund Pettus Bridge and Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, and Foster Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

State tourism director Lee Sentell said the limited-edition book prepared for Birmingham Mayor William Bell persuaded a division of the United Nations to award the designation of “Memory of the World” that highlights documentary heritage, including speeches, articles, books and sermons. The goal is for major 15 civil rights sites in the U.S. to be designated as World Heritage Sites,

The entry also received recognition with a Mosaic Award at the district level competition. The Mosaic Award is given to the entry that the judges feel best reflects multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion in advertising. The award recognizes companies whose commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident through their work and action.

Books-A-Million presents “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Alabama Theatre

To celebrate the upcoming release of Alabama native Harper Lee’s new novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” Books-A-Million will host a special event centered around the movie adaptation of her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The Academy Award winning movie will be shown from 2-4 pm on Sun., June 21 at the Alabama Theatre.  Books-A-Million will have copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird” available for purchase and movie goers will also be able to pre-order their copy of “Go Set a Watchman.”

“This event will be a great way for fans of Harper Lee to celebrate her classic American novel and get ready for the release of its sequel,” said Scott Kappler, Vice President of Marketing for Books-A-Million. “With her Alabama roots, the Alabama Theatre is the perfect place to celebrate Harper Lee and the release of her new novel.”

After the movie the block in front of the Alabama Theatre will be closed and Books-A-Million will host a street party from 4-5 p.m.  Live music from local band the Steel City Jug Slammers will entertain the crowd and food and drinks from Yogurt Mountain, Cantina, and Mr. Henry’s Chicken De-Lux will be available. Antique cars will also be on hand, and car enthusiasts are encouraged to bring their classic and vintage cars to show as well.

The “To Kill a Mockingbird” novel was released in 1960 and is considered one of the greatest works of American literature ever published. It has sold more than 40 million copies and won the Pulitzer Prize.  A film adaptation starring Gregory Peck as Atticus came out in 1963.  The film won three Academy Awards and was selected by the American Film Institute as the greatest courtroom drama movie ever made.

For more, go to: names the Top 10 Travel’s Best: All-American Vacations for 2015

Your next vacation can be spent on an overnight adventure aboard a U.S. naval ship! has named the top 10 “Travel’s Best: All-American Vacations” for 2015 with locations steeped in history, from a road trip to the southernmost point in the United States to exploring the natural beauty in our country’s national parks. enlisted a panel of experts to help determine the 10 best all-American vacations for 2015, including: Robin Bennefield (freelance travel writer and producer), Jessica Bowers (family travel expert,, Guillaume Dutilh and Jenna Spesard ( and Jessica van Dop DeJesus (U.S. Marine and editor of

The 2015 “Travel’s Best: All-American Vacations”

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the park created to honor the ship’s stellar service during World War II. Tour the battleship, the aircraft collection and the USS Drum submarine, or even book an overnight adventure aboard the ship. Beyond beautiful Mobile Bay, streets lined with historic homes and giant oaks give way to a vibrant downtown once dubbed, “the Paris of the South.”

For more details on the “Travel’s Best: All-American Vacations” for 2015, go to:

The Hotel at Auburn University appoints Leonardo Maurelli III as executive chef
Chef Maurelli Returns to Auburn June 16 with Locally Responsible Culinary Brand

The Hotel at Auburn University is proud to announce Chef Leonardo Maurelli III as the new Executive Chef. Chef Maurelli is returning to The Hotel at Auburn University after five years including an impressive performance as Executive Chef at Central in Montgomery, Ala. creating a unique brand for himself that he plans to integrate into the hotel’s culinary team.

“We are eager to welcome Chef Maurelli back as Executive Chef,” said Hans van der Reijden, Managing Director of The Hotel at Auburn University.  “This position requires an ability to juggle multiple culinary efforts and team members. His incredible leadership skills and keen instincts for the culinary arts will serve him well. We are also very happy for him to return to his alma mater and our hotel where he first embarked on his career as an intern.”

Born in the Republic of Panama and having lived in Alabama since he was 11-years-old, Chef Maurelli’s cooking style is marked by the unique blend of his family’s Latino and Italian heritage as well as the years he has spent living in the South. He plans to bring even more of the artisan craft to the Hotel with a strong emphasis on local responsibility. He will actively seek distributors who support the local community in regards to farming efforts and conservation.

Chef Maurelli will join additional new culinary team members including Brandon Burleson, the new Executive Sous Chef, and Paul Diaz, the new Chef de Cuisine for Ariccia Trattoria & Bar. The new team, led by Chef Maurelli, will take on some of his personal brand and leadership qualities. Chef Maurelli expresses a deep passion for the opportunity to pass on his skills and experience to help his team thrive and achieve savory success.

“I am excited to lead the team and integrate my unique style that I have developed with the help and influence from my mentors including those I worked with previously at The Hotel at Auburn University,” said Maurelli.  “Most of all I am ready to come home and get started!”

Auburn University professor pens book on golf course designer Robert Trent Jones
By Sara Falligant, Opelika-Auburn News, June 14

Last year, Dr. James Hansen, professor in Auburn University’s Department of History, published his 12th book, “A Difficult Par: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf.” The work earned him the U.S. Golf Association’s Herbert Warren Wind Award winner in 2014 and will send him to signings at both next week’s U.S. Open in Washington State and Opelika’s Barbasol Championship in July.

At the Open, the Golf Channel will air a 10-minute piece on the Jones family of architects based on Hansen’s research.

The book chronicles the 70-year-long golf course architecture career of Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the tumultuous dynamic of his two sons, Robert Jr. and Reese. Combined, the Joneses designed nearly 1,000 courses on five different continents.

“One of the reasons I wanted to study him was this historical significance,” Hansen said, describing Jones Sr. as the “P.T. Barnum of golf design.”

The historian worked with the Jones sons on the book, along with utilizing Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s personal papers archived at Cornell University.

Hansen, a lifelong golfer, partially credits the construction of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama in the 1990s with sparking his interest in the family.

“Partly, it was the fact that this incredible project was taking place in the state of Alabama,” Hansen said, adding he enjoyed watching the construction of Opelika’s RTJ course.

“I was an avid golfer since I was a boy, and I knew I wanted to do a book on golf. …I actually designed my own golf course in the schoolyard. …When I finally got around to writing about golf, it made sense to write about golf course architecture.”

Hansen also knew a bit about the “troubled relationship” between Reese and Robert Jr.

“There’s a lot to expose about this family. …I just tell the honest story,” he said. “It’s a very unusual and unique golf book. It’s a piece of scholarship.”

To read this article online, go to:

ShrimpFest and BBQ to benefit Lakepoint State Park on June 27
By Jeff Dute,, June 9

Eufaula is the place to be June 27 when Baumhower’s ShrimpFest and BBQ Fundraiser and Rally for Alabama State Parks comes to Lakepoint Resort State Park.

The party begins at 4 p.m. and features fresh Alabama Gulf Coast shrimp, barbecue, live music and entertainment for kids.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the event.

Fund-raisers like this are more crucial than ever since Alabama State Parks is currently facing a funding crisis that threatens to close more than half of its 22 parks, including Lakepoint.

About 90 percent of the annual funding to operate and maintain Alabama’s state parks and the 48,000 acres they encompass comes from user fees such as lodging, gate entries, camping and meeting-space rentals.

All proceeds from this fundraiser will go toward continued funding of state-park operations.

“Our state park system is experiencing a challenging time during the current budget negotiations,” State Parks Director Greg Lein said. “We are honored to partner with longtime supporter Bob Baumhower to highlight how the parks are actually funded. Events like this one help attract more visitors to the parks which, in turn, helps them to remain open. We encourage everyone to visit a state park and bring their friends.”

For Baumhower, a former NFL and University of Alabama football star, and current CEO of Aloha Hospitality, Alabama State Parks has strengthened his connection with the state’s natural beauty and his fellow Alabamians.

“Our state parks offer everyone an opportunity to enjoy these lands no matter their interest or income,” Baumhower said. “Alabama is fortunate to have such an efficiently run and beautiful state-park system.”

The Baumhower ShrimpFest & BBQ Fundraiser and Rally for Alabama State Parks is co-sponsored by Baumhower’s Restaurant, Conecuh Sausage, SRA Foods, Pepsi, Red Diamond and Gulf Coast Seafood.

For more information about the event, call the Lakepoint office at 1-800-544-5253 or 1-334-687-8011.

To read this article online, go to:

The 2015 Southern Living Food Awards

We kicked off our three-day taste test by sampling nearly 60 jars of jams and jellies and ended with a side-by-side comparison of 46 different kinds of coffee. In between the sugar headaches and caffeine rushes, not only did we find the perfect pickle and the most refreshing summer beer, but also we discovered the stories of the people who make them. They all remind us that the best Southern recipes mix innovation with tradition.

Piper and Leaf Artisan Tea Co.
Made in: Huntsville, AL

A black tea blend dotted with cornflowers that produces the perfect pitcher of iced tea. It’s spiked with delicate notes of cooling spearmint, jasmine, and a tinge of bittersweet orange from bergamot peel.

To read the entire article, go to:

Alabama’s oldest restaurant celebrates 108th birthday
By Bob Carlton,, June 11

Alabama’s oldest restaurant raises a glass to another milestone, when Bessemer’s Bright Star celebrates its 108th year in business with a birthday wine dinner.

The five-course dinner features old favorite dishes from the Bright Star over the years paired with wines from Birmingham’s Rush Cellars.

The dinner is Wed., June 17.  It begins with a meet-and-greet at 6 p.m., and dinner follows at 7 p.m.
The cost is $100 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.  Reservations are available at 205-426-1861 or 205-424-9444.

Rush Garner of Rush Wines will attend the dinner to present the showcased wines and answer questions about them.

Rush Wines is also celebrating a couple of birthdays. This year marks the distribution company’s 13th year in business, and it is the 10th anniversary of the Rush Cellars private-label brand.

Greek immigrant Tom Bonduris opened the Bright Star in downtown Bessemer in 1907, and it has been in the Bonduris-Koikos family ever since.

Brothers Jimmy and Nicky Koikos, who are descendants of Bonduris, now own the family business, and Andreas Anastassakis, a cousin of the Koikos brothers, came in as general manager five years ago.

In 2010, the Bright Star received the James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classic award, which honors restaurants “with timeless appeal” and that are “beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community.”

Later that same year, the Alabama Tourism Department presented the Bright Star with a historical marker recognizing it as “Alabama’s Oldest Restaurant.”

To read the entire article and see the menu and wine pairings, go to:


The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints
By Robert Moss, Southern Living

Here are the best 50 barbecue joints in the South. It only leaves one question: How long will it take you to eat at all 50?

The Archibald family is famous for their hickory-cooked ribs, which they pile atop slices of white bread to soak up their spicy, orange-hued vinegar sauce. It’s a bare-bones operation, serving just ribs and sliced pork. For decades the only accompaniments were potato chips and sodas, though banana pudding and sweet tea were recently added. The tiny white-painted cinderblock building seats only eleven, but most customers take their ribs to go or eat them at the red picnic tables outside. Meaty, smoky, and with just the right slip-it-from-the-bone-with-your-teeth texture, they’re as good as you’ll find anywhere in the country.

There’s no better place to sample Alabama-style white sauce than at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, where it was invented. Gibson started cooking pork shoulders and chicken in his backyard in 1925 and over the years migrated through a succession of ever-larger restaurants. Pitmaster Chris Lilly carries on the tradition today, cooking pulled pork, St. Louis-cut ribs, beef brisket, and turkey on long brick pits fired solely with hickory coals. Most famous of all is the smooth, smoky barbecued chicken, a splendid stage on which that legendary white sauce can shine.

Miss Myra’s flew under the radar for a long while, but recently it’s started to get noticed by more and more barbecue lovers outside of Alabama. An array of meats are slow-cooked on custom-built brick pits, including pork, ribs, beef, and sausage. The real prize, though, is Miss Myra’s chicken. Eminently smoky beneath pit-blackened skin, it’s complemented by a thin, tangy white sauce laced with black pepper. The sides—slow simmered greens, mac and cheese, baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs—are all delicious, and the sweet, gooey banana pudding is the perfect capper for a classic Alabama barbecue meal.

To read the entire article, go to:

The world recognizes Birmingham is an essential destination city

My esteemed colleague, Chuck Dean, must’ve been out of town this weekend.

How else could he defend saying that “Birmingham is not a destination city,” on the same weekend that 10,000 people packed Bartow Arena to watch Deontay Wilder defend his heavyweight title? The same weekend that more than 50,000 people flocked to the BJCC to watch Garth Brooks?

He must’ve missed the Barons’ millionth fan walking through the gates to Regions Field two weeks ago. And I’m guessing he hasn’t walked through the Theater District recently.

And… if he really doesn’t think Birmingham is a destination city, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s even been to Civil Rights Institute. Because, he fails to realize that it’s because of the city’s past that we are such an important destination for people throughout the world.

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with sophomores and juniors from the prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. The students were visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute as part of a 10-day immersion experience in the American South. In past years, Phillips students have visited China, Europe, or even South Africa. But these students chose to spend their summer in Birmingham and the American South.

Now, I’ve got to say that I was skeptical. The idea of high schoolers “studying” the South by visiting Civil Rights battlegrounds sounded a bit like signing up for a dating service that only allowed you to list your glaring flaws – swipe right for occasional lynching, swipe left for bigoted textbooks. I could easily envision some sanctimonious Yankee teacher saying, “Look kids! Here’s where racism happened.” But after meeting with the students and teachers, I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s hard to know what to expect from 16-year-old and 17-year-old kids. My assumption was that these kids from Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Massachusetts and around the country would approach the South as an alien world that needed to be analyzed and fixed. What I found, instead, were kids that approached Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery with something like reverence. These were communities that they could learn from, not places to fear or change. They quickly drew parallels to struggles in their own community and found inspiration in the thousands of protestors that worked in tandem to make a difference in the face of terrible odds.

It’s a mindset that I think may be lost on people like Chuck Dean. Birmingham is a destination city because of “cowards who set off a bomb in a black church almost 52 years ago killing four little girls.”

History was made here – and we have an obligation to learn from and continue that legacy.
In fact, Mo’ne Davis – one of the coolest sports superstars in the world right now – is visiting the city later this month specifically to learn more about those four little girls.

Like the students at Phillips Academy, Davis and her teammates are planning a cultural tour through the South, playing exhibition games in communities like Selma, Birmingham and Little Rock while embracing the history lessons offered by each community. And thousands of people take similar cultural excursions each year.

In speaking with Judith Wombwell, the faculty member that planned and coordinated the Phillips Academy trip through the South, I was struck by a growing generational divide. Wombwell grew up in Memphis during the 1960s, witnessing the civil rights battles first hand, just a child when Dr. King was assassinated while visiting her hometown. Like Chuck, I get the feeling that when Wombwell sees Birmingham and Memphis, she sees horror.
Even today, they struggle to see beyond the flickering black-and-white images of horror that defined the South in their youth.

For many of us too young to have firsthand experience with sit-ins, or children’s marches or earth-shattering assassinations, we view the South’s role in the Civil Rights movement with pride. History was made here – and we have an obligation to learn from and continue that legacy.

It’s an obligation that the world wants to be a part of as well.

Since its opening in 1992, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has been visited by more than 2 million tourists from across the United States, from South Africa, from the Middle East, and countries across Europe and South America. The legacy of nonviolent protests has inspired millions across the globe – no wonder so many people approach Edmund Pettus Bridge or the 16th Street Baptist Church with such reference. Birmingham is certainly a destination city in the eyes of UNESCO.

With all due respect to Birmingham’s yuppies and yuccies, while the art museum may be great and our music scene is phenomenal, and while I love Regions Field, Railroad Park and our incredible food scene, it’s places like the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute that set us apart. That make us an essential American city. If you haven’t been yet, it’s time to go.

In the last several years, we’ve seen a tremendous renaissance in downtown Birmingham. But the renaissance hasn’t been driven by destroying or painting over the city’s past – it’s been driven by restoration and revitalization.

To some, Birmingham’s role in history is an ugly scar to be avoided, but if we embrace it and continue to build on it – by  renovating the A.G. Gaston Motel and establishing the “Freedom Center,” for example –  it could bring more tourism, attention and excitement to the city than a newly restored theater or hotel could ever hope to.

To read this entire article online, go to:

Selma Tourism will unveil audio tours of 75 historic sites

Selma and Dallas County Tourism has developed an impressive self-guided Audio Tour of 75 historic sites with a grant provided by the Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area. Each site features a short oral history recorded by local citizens with connections to the sites.

Signs with a QR code, phone number, and photograph have been placed in front of each location. In order to access the audio, visitors will use their cell phones to either scan the QR Code or dial the phone number. This project will allow visitors to learn about Selma’s intriguing history at their own pace.

With Selma having the largest historic district in Alabama, it is no surprise that it also has a large number of sites on its new Audio Tour. In order to navigate to each of the 75 sites, Selma and Dallas County Tourism has partnered with Madden & Associates to create a map brochure with names and addresses of each site. The map brochures will be available at the Centre for Commerce as well as other locations in downtown Selma.

Unveiling of the Audio Tours is to be held on Wed., June 17 at 11:00 AM at the Centre for Commerce located at 912 Selma Ave. in Selma.
For more information, please call Ashley Mason at 334-875-7241 or email

Jackson Nance returns to help music hall of fame
By  Russ Corey,, June 5

Jackson Nance is not a stranger to the Shoals, but on Friday he will get a chance to play at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame with several of his musical heroes.

Nance, the youngest artist who has ever been signed to Warner/Chappell Music in Nashville, is headlining a “Swamp Thing” fundraiser at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame on Friday.

The 15-year-old, who lives in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, visited the hall of fame for the first time a few months ago and decided he wanted to do a benefit concert for the museum.

Nance will be backed by an all-star band including Swampers Jimmy Johnson and David Hood, Rob Robinson, Will McFarlane, and Kerry Gilbert Band members Kerry Gilbert, Wayne Walker and Randy Kimbrough.

Hall of Fame Manager Dixie Griffin said she’s excited about the show and the chance to showcase Nance.
“This is going to be just a fun, fun show with the Swampers and other great musicians,” Griffin said.

“It’s going to be great.”

Nance said he will perform five songs that Johnson and Hood played on, then play five of his originals.

“We have a great group of guys playing with us,” Nance said. “That’s just a big confidence booster.”

Nance started singing in public at age 8 and learned to play guitar at 12.

“I didn’t really get into history that much until I started to play guitar when I was 12,” Nance said.

“The way I see it, if you want to learn something and do it good, what better place to go then back to where it all started.”

He was referring to Muscle Shoals.

“I love the dirty, grittiness of the Muscle Shoals sound,” Nance said. “It’s kind of swampy, but they can still put out ballads that are pretty good.”

Gilbert said he met Nance about three years ago when they were both performing at a fundraiser for FAME Girls Range.

“I had arranged for his parents to bring him down from Leiper’s Fork to play with my band that night,” Gilbert said. “While we were playing, up to the stage walked this young man, full of charisma with a great big ole’ smile.”

“I knew this kid was special the first time I had met him downtown Florence one night, two months prior.”

Gilbert said Nance has a “movie star” quality about him that makes him stand out in a crowd.

He said Nance has played with Gilbert’s band, The KGB, several times, including shows at the Roxy Theatre in Russellville and during the W.C. Handy Music Festival.

Friday’s show also will feature the debut of Nance’s first music video, “It’s a Swamp Thing,” which he co-wrote with songwriters Eddie Wilson and Rob Robinson as a tribute to the Swampers.

The Swampers is the nickname of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios rhythm section members Johnson, Hood, Roger Hawkins and the late Barry Beckett.

“These guys are my heroes,” Nance said.

The video was recorded in January at Jimmy Nutt’s NuttHouse Recording Studio in Sheffield, and the song was produced by Johnson.

Tickets to the show are $20 and include a tour of the hall of fame and museum. The show begins at 7 p.m., and seating is limited.

Tickets for the Swamp Thing pre-party are $30 and include a ticket to the show, hors d’oeuvres, a complementary drink and a meet and greet with the band.

It also includes a copy of “It’s a Swamp Thing.”

The pre-party begins at 6 p.m. and advance tickets are required. A cash bar will be available.
For details, contact the hall of fame at 256-381-4417.

To read this article online, go to:

Nominations are open for the 2015 Tourism Awards

Awards nominations are open for the 2015 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

There are 14 categories that nominations are accepted they are: Director’s Award, Tourism Hall of Fame, Attraction of the Year, Governor’s Tourism Award, Organization of the Year, Event of the Year, Rising Star, ATD Employee of the Year, Welcome Center of the Year, Tourism (Advocate) Media, Tourism (Advocate) Government, Tourism Executive of the Year, Tourism Employee of the Year and Tourism Partnership of the Year.

For each nomination submit a one page statement explaining why the nominee is deserving of the award (required). Supporting material such as a binder/notebook with letters, memos, press releases or other documentation to support your nomination (optional).

It is permissible to nominate your attraction, event, organization or co-worker for an award. You may also nominate yourself for an award.

The deadline for nominations is June 19.

Please send nominations to: Cynthia Flowers,
The conference will be held at the Renaissance Battle House Hotel & Spa in Mobile, Aug. 1-4.
For registration and more information, go to:

2015 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism

The 2015 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism is being held at the Renaissance Battle House Hotel & Spa in Mobile, Aug. 1 – 4.  The group rate of $125 per night is good from July 28 through Aug. 6, 2015.  The last day to be able to take advantage of the group rate is June 30.

To reserve a room at the host hotel, go to: Book your group rate: Alabama Governors Conference on Tourism 2015 >> or call 866-316-5957.  When calling be sure to refer to the Alabama Governor’s Conference in order to get the group rate.

Several of the fascinating speakers you have to look forward to are:

Jay Lamar, the executive director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission. Appointed in early 2014, she previously worked at Auburn University, most recently as the director of Special Programs for the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

As the younger brother of the Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail’s namesake, Karlos Finley is a native of Mobile whose family’s Mobile roots date back to the 1860’s when his great grandmother relocated to Mobile from neighboring Clarke County.

As a travel-marketing practitioner for 35 years, Art Webb has guided brand and marketing efforts for Attractions, Theme Parks, Historical Destinations, State Tourism Organizations and Mountain and Beach Destinations among others.  Art’s perspective on travel marketing has always been guided by the bedrock realities of consumer behavior.  Most recently, and informed by a lifelong interest in brain science and human perception, Art has spearheaded development of the first of its kind study of human perception specific to the world of destination travel – Travel Perceptor.

In 2004, Australian born Kristian Aboud discovered the Mobile-Tensaw Delta in southern Alabama and fell in love with the serenity and mystical draw the delta holds for all who spend time with her. He had been searching the world for an untouched wilderness to launch an adventure tour business for a decade and the Delta answered the call.

To register for the conference and see an agenda, go to:

Search is on for Alabama Barbecue Restaurants

The Alabama Tourism Department is conducting a search for barbecue restaurants around the state that might not have made it into the Alabama Barbecue book.  If you are or know of any barbecue restaurants in your area, please go to to sign in and join Alabama Tourism’s Year of Alabama Barbecue.

Alabama artists and craftspeople

Alabama is home to a vast number of talented and creative artists and craftspeople who produce a wide variety of items including, but not limited to, woodwork, paintings, ceramics, fabrics and a lot of food.

The Alabama Tourism Department is looking for information about these artists and crafters and their products.

We are interested in the home-grown cottage industries rather than the industrial giants.

Please send information about people and their products, including contact information, to Peggy Collins, or call 334-242-4545.

2016 Vacation Guide & Calendar of Event deadlines

It’s time to submit information in order to have your attractions and events listed in the printed version of the Alabama Vacation Guide & Calendar of Events.  The listings must be entered into the website by June 30, for the Calendar of Events, and July 10, for the Vacation Guide.

The web address is:  If you have any questions, call Pam Smith at 334-353-4541.

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

June 19                        Deadline for AGCT Nominations
June 30                        Deadline for Calendar of Events
June 30                        Battlehouse Mobile group rate ends for AGCT
July 9                          Alabama Tourism Workshop in Montgomery
July 10                        Deadline for Vacation Guide
Aug 1 – 4                    Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism – Mobile
Aug 8 – 12                  Alabama Motorcoach/SCMA/GMOA Regional Meeting
Lake Lanier, GA

Tourism Tuesdays is a free electronic newsletter produced by the Alabama Tourism Department. It contains news about the state tourism department and the Alabama tourism industry.

The newsletter can also be accessed online by going to:

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

Alabama Tourism Department