Tourism Tuesdays July 3, 2018

Brennan highlights tourism
Ridesharing Available Statewide
UC Funds announces grand opening of One Club Gulf Shores in Gulf Shores
Athens Main Street has new director, moves toward strategic plan
The Five Jets to receive bronze star in AMHOF lobby
Restaurants, sign up now for Alabama Restaurant Week 2018
Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism
“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website


Brennan highlights tourism
From the article by Erica Techo on

Tourism in the state of Alabama is on the rise, and according to Alabama Tourism Deputy Director Grey Brennan, “Shelby County is doing a wonderful job.”

The annual state lodging tax is up 9.4 percent in Shelby County, compared to 7.1 percent for the state, and direct travel-related employment is up more than 5 percent in Shelby County, compared to the state average of 4 percent, Brennan told attendees of the June 27 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon, complimenting the county on how the dollars can affect the county and “multiply” in the county.

The June luncheon was hosted by the chamber’s tourism and recreation work group, and Brennan was invited to discuss tourism and its impact throughout the state and county. He highlighted the county’s many attractions, including Oak Mountain State Park, multiple golf courses, museums and wineries.

“I think you could really say that Shelby County is kind of the heart of Alabama’s wine country. … That is a very good, feel good tourism entity for your area,” he said.

Other parts of the county are great for providing a unique experience to visitors, Brennan said, including the train rides in Calera. While trains were once a practical mode of transportation, now they’re a novelty.

“Now, that’s an experience, and tourism is all about experience and unique experiences that you can have,” Brennan said.

Even with those attractions available, however, there’s a chance to improve tourism within the county. As part of his presentation, Brennan gave a few suggestions for how to increase tourism, including taking advantage of the fact that most people have smartphones and will use those to photograph the locations they are visiting.

“Social media marketing is a fantastic way to get your message out, and you should be keying some way to try and do that,” Brennan said, highlighting the importance of user-generated content.

Steps as simple as putting up a sign pointing out a “great photo spot” can encourage people to take photos and post them to social media, which in turn, is free marketing for the location, Brennan said.

Smartphones are also used as a way to research and book tours, so making sure that the proper online channels are set up can ensure you don’t miss out on a potential visitor, Brennan said.

“The key is making it easy for someone to buy your ticket,” Brennan said.

Other changes, such as taking advantage of resources provided by the state through the visitors centers at the state line, the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and the “Tourism Tuesday” e-newsletter, can also promote the county and its many attractions.

“What I like to say in our office is we can’t do everything for everyone, but there is something we can do for everyone. … We want to highlight everyone in the state of Alabama,” Brennan said.

For the complete article please see

Ridesharing available statewide
From the article by Justin Walker on

Statewide ridesharing is in effect in Alabama. Anyone within the state now has the opportunity to use or work for rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft, regardless of area or proximity to metropolitan areas.

Previously, rideshare companies were only allowed to operate in select cities in the state, like Birmingham and Huntsville. The new law signed by Governor Kay Ivey is based on a state policy which allows employees of those companies to travel as far as they want to work. People in smaller cities can now call for an Uber or Lyft driver to pick them up and take them to their destinations.

Johnny Green has been an employee of Uber and Lyft for over a year. He says the new rideshare laws could bring more people into the business who wouldn’t have the opportunity before.

“It gives people that need to work part-time the opportunity to make a little extra money,” he said. “It gives them a time to work their own hours, because really you’re your own boss. You don’t have to ask for permission to get something to eat, or to take off, or deal with an emergency. You can just go.”

Most of the people we spoke to say they’re excited to see the opportunity for rural and urban areas to enjoy rideshare opportunities that were not available before.

“I’ve used it a couple of times,” Chris Trippeer, an Auburn University student, said. “It’s always been really convenient, really transparent. It gives you the fee ahead of time based on the mileage. I can’t really think of a reason why it shouldn’t be available to everyone.”

Susan McFadyen says the law opens up a new avenue for Alabamians to take part in. “It would make sense to me that if they could expand to the rural areas, it would expand their enterpreneuralship to be able to make more money,” she said. If there are people who need an Uber driver to come into the city, they now would have access to that.”

Alabama is the 45th state to allow ridesharing statewide.

For the complete article please see

UC Funds announces grand opening of One Club Gulf Shores in Gulf Shores
From the article on

UC Funds, a vertically-integrated commercial real estate specialty finance firm, announced today the completion and grand opening of its extensive renovation of the 490-unit One Club Gulf Shores community located at 4000 Gulf Shores Parkway in Gulf Shores, Alabama. One Club capstoned the grand opening week with a charity golf tournament benefiting Alabama’s Sea Turtle Preservation Program and Gulf State Park’s Backcountry Trail Preservation following its ribbon cutting and the Grand Opening evening soiree.

UC Funds acquired the property in 2016 and immediately started an all-encompassing capital improvement program that would later turn into a rebranding of the property as One Club, transforming the asset into a top-of-the-line destination resort in the heart of the Emerald Coast. As part of this redevelopment, UC Funds updated all common areas, amenities, and all residential units with eco-friendly interiors.

Its location is one-of-a-kind and provides the sought-after alternative for beach-only luxury living. Situated in a golf course community with more than 90 acres of campus, One Club Gulf Shores is also central to the beach, boating and marinas, and family-friendly attractions like OWA amusement parks, and Tanger outlet malls. A private airport is just one mile away for business executives and charters who fly into Gulf Shores.

UC Funds partnered with Jillian Pritchard Cooke at DES-SYN to design the new, resort-style feel for the clubhouse, new restaurant, and common areas. Significant renovations have also occurred in the residential units. All residences are completely renovated to include new flooring, updated bathrooms with walk-in showers, new appliances, environmentally-friendly carpeting and painting, and upgrades fixtures and lighting throughout. Cheryl Johnson of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Galleries partnered with UC Funds to outfit these new residences. Customers can purchase from a myriad of upgrade options as well, including subway tiling, Bosch appliances, and hardwood flooring.

The piece de resistance of One Club is its golf course. UC Funds has invested several million dollars to redesign and upgrade its golf course with its own Amen Corner on the ninth hole, entertaining both amateurs and experienced golfers. Golfers who want to play a challenging round can quickly and easily maneuver One Club’s golf course. Full upgrades include new bunkers, water features, irrigation, and water systems; a larger golf cart fleet; full landscaping; and new seasonal maintenance. One Club, in concert with adjacent Craft Farms’ Arnold Palmer-designed courses, provides the “Best 45 Holes in Golf” and is a first-class destination for golfers.

“These 45 holes of golf are beautiful, challenging and yet still very playable. We see their appeal to both experienced golfers and those seeking a relaxing round or a getaway weekend of golf,” says Daniel M. Palmier, founder, president, and CEO of UC Funds. “One Club is situated in the Emerald Coast of Gulf Shores, Alabama, a top-tier destination for golfers nestled between coastal dunes and the Gulf of Mexico. One Club is also proximate to the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail for those looking to experience all the golf that Alabama is known for.”

One Club’s 15,000-square-foot clubhouse is completely redesigned and serves as a comfortable and luxurious gathering spot for residents. Atypical from other condo clubhouses with simple meeting rooms, One Club has a newly renovated pro shop, an on-site convenience store, and Bar 45, an all-day dining and entertainment restaurant. Bar 45 will open this summer and will be a destination for golfers and residents alike.

Three more charming locations have been added to the clubhouse for year-round gathering, relaxation, and private parties. These rooms known as The Veranda, The Porch, and the new Surf Shack offer additional entertaining and lifestyle options for residents. The Clubhouse can now be used by residents and local community members for private parties and weddings.

UC Funds added two new resort-style pools with cabanas to the resident-only pool club. In the pool club area, there are also newly installed jacuzzis and a sauna. Upstairs and also right on campus is a newly renovated 3,500-square-foot fitness center complete with Pelaton bikes, a stretching and yoga area, treadmills, and state-of-the-art fitness equipment. One Life Fitness Center overlooks a majestic view of the first and ninth holes.

And there’s more to come. A new state-of-the-art golf training facility is planned for Fall 2018 as well as a third pool that will be an adult-only lap pool.

Formerly known as Emerald Greens, the beach-adjacent property consists of 490 one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos and apartments offering multiple floor plans and outstanding amenities to match any lifestyle. One Club welcomes individuals looking for easy access to a fun-filled, active lifestyle. The community provides a private and dynamic setting for those hoping to relocate or purchase a second home for winter getaways.

For the complete article please see

Athens Main Street has new director, moves toward strategic plan
From the article by Marian Accardi on

Tere Richardson is taking over as the executive director of Athens Main Street as the organization moves toward developing a strategic plan.

In late August or early September, Main Street Alabama will conduct a community “visioning” workshop and interview local business owners, residents, civic organizations and public officials before making initial recommendations for the strategic plan. The recommendations will be supported by market data.

“Board members and I can start from ground zero and set goals and objectives, with the help of Main Street Alabama” and with input from the community, Richardson said. “Everybody will be on the same page.

”Richardson, 59, a Limestone County native, worked in project management consulting for 10 years with global clients, including Honeywell, Maytag and Lenscrafters, and, for the last 25 years, has been involved in the nonprofit sector. She and her husband, Gary Van Wagnen, have lived in Limestone County for about 15 years.

“I love downtown Athens; I love Limestone County,” said Richardson, who wants to be part of the continued growth in new tenants and renovated space in the downtown area, “with an eye toward historic preservation. There are always people interested in our downtown buildings.

“It’s a great small-town feel, but you can come here and shop in some elegant antique shops, you can have a fine dinner and you can buy some lovely gifts. What is not to love about downtown Athens?”

Richardson said immediate plans are to continue popular events such as Fridays after Five and Athens Saturday Market. Athens Main Street also will be involved in the city’s bicentennial celebration events later this year, she said.

Richardson will be assisted by Athens Main Street’s summer intern, Rylee Lefevre, an Athens resident and University of North Alabama student.

Richardson has “a real passion” for improving Athens and Limestone County, said Shane Black, who will be the organization’s interim president.

“Tere has been very active in community programs and has demonstrated a selflessness and commitment to making this the best place to live,” Black said.

Richardson is board president of Limestone County Churches Involved, chair of Athens Rotary Service Projects and a member of Athens State University’s Board of Visitors, a volunteer service organization, and Finance Committee.

Melanie Newton, who was previously the director of Athens Main Street, formerly known as Spirit of Athens, resigned in February.

For the complete article please see

The Five Jets to receive bronze star in AMHOF lobby
From the article by Russ Corey on

One of the Shoals’ original rock bands is receiving a bronze star in the lobby of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 14.

The Five Jets got their start in 1955 and performed until 1971. The Jets went through several personnel changes and  reformed in 2006.

The band includes Ken Lovelace, Jimmy Lovelace, Bob Cox, Don Moore and Raymond Lovelace.

New members Ed Goodwin and Marty Morrison joined the band following the departure of Cox and Kenneth Lovelace.

Alabama Music Hall of Fame Director Dixie Griffin said the band’s career has spanned decades and includes chance encounters with rock ‘n’ roll legends and an early national TV appearance.

“Come by, meet The Five Jets, and hear some great stories about what the Shoals was like when rock ‘n’ roll began to take over,” Griffin said.

The event is free and open to be public beginning at 4:45 p.m. The reception includes refreshments, comments from Griffin and band members, and the unveiling of the star.

For the complete article please see

Restaurants, sign up now for Alabama Restaurant Week 2018
Restaurants, sign up and be a part of the locally owned and operated restaurants that participate in Alabama Restaurant Week 2018. This year the more-than-weeklong event is Aug. 10-19. Last year almost 100 restaurants were a part of the event showcasing local food, fun and flavor.

Participating restaurants will receive in-store promotional items and be listed on the website along with their meal offerings. Participating restaurants set meal prices at $10, $20, $30 and $40 for dinner and $10 and $15 for lunch. In all cases, the price is per person and does not include tax, tip and drink. Restaurants have the choice of offering one or more meals at the preset price.

There is no cost for restaurants to participate in this statewide promotion. For more details and sign-up information, please contact Courtney Austin at or 334-242-4674.

Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism
The Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism is Aug. 4-7 at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa.

Early Bird Registration and Early Bird (Convention Block) at the Renaissance Montgomery end on July 20.

The conference provides tourism professionals a chance to gather and learn about the economic impact of the industry on the Alabama economy, learn new strategies for marketing local Alabama attractions and amenities to visitors, raise money for scholarships through silent auctions and celebrate achievements.

For an agenda, list of speakers and registration information please see

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website
Save the date! Alabama Restaurant Week is Friday, Aug. 10 through Sunday, Aug. 19. If you are participating in Alabama Restaurant Week, make sure your Partner page is up-to-date with any new information and photos. Don’t have a Partner account yet? Now is the time to sign up.

Head over to today to update or create your Partner account.


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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Alabama Tourism Department