Tourism Tuesdays May 7, 2019

Nominations for the 2019 Tourism Awards deadline extended

Welcome Center greeting tourism partners

“To Kill a Mockingbird” nominated for 9 Tony Awards

Chef from Odette in Florence wins 2019 Alabama Seafood Cook-Off

Alabama’s literary capital honors authors with new sculpture trail

Alabama cities celebrate National Travel and Tourism week on May 5-11

Could passenger rail service between Montgomery and Mobile happen soon?

Alabama Tourism Department’s 2019 Fall tourism workshop announced

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website


Nominations for the 2019 Tourism Awards deadline extended
The deadline for nominations has been extended to May 30, 2019. Please submit your nomination for a tourism professional you feel has gone above and beyond the call of duty. There are 13 categories to choose from: Tourism Hall of Fame, Attraction of the Year, Event of the Year, Governor’s Tourism Award, Tourism Advocate Media, Tourism Advocate Government, Tourism Professional of the Year, Tourism Executive of the Year, Tourism Organization of the Year, Tourism Partnership, Welcome Center Employee of the Year, ATD Employee of the Year, Rising Star, and Themed Campaigns.

If you have any questions please contact Cynthia Flowers at 334-242-4413 or by email:

Welcome Center greeting tourism partners
The Alabama Tourism Department-Welcome Center Program will be welcoming guests throughout the state to increase the awareness of the economic, social and cultural impact that tourism has on the local, regional and statewide communities. We invite our tourism partners to participate at each Center from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. (central standard time) by bringing special promotions, coupons, etc., and share in our hospitality on the following dates:

May 9: Lanett Welcome Center, Grand Bay Welcome Center and Houston Welcome Center
May 10: Baldwin Welcome Center
May 15: Cleburne Welcome Center
May 16: Sumter Welcome Center
May 23: Ardmore Welcome Center
May 30: DeKalb Welcome Center

Please contact the Welcome Center managers to RSVP.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” nominated for 9 Tony Awards
The Tony Award nominees were announced last week. The play “To Kill a Mockingbird” was nominated for a total of nine Tony Awards for 2019. It was nominated in the below categories:

Best Original Score
Best Direction of a Play
Best Leading Actor in a Play
Best Featured Actor in a Play
Best Featured Actress in a Play
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Best Costume Design of a Play
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Best Sound Design in a Play

The 73rd Tony Awards will be held on June 9 and held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and broadcasted live at 7 p.m. (Central) on CBS.

Chef from Odette in Florence wins 2019 Alabama Seafood Cook-Off
From the article by Mary Colurso on

Roman Jacobsen, chef at Odette in Florence, showed his good taste at the 2019 Alabama Seafood Cook-Off.

Jacobsen won the competition, held on May 1 in Bayou La Batre, by preparing gulf snapper escabeche and Kalamata olive causa.

He competed against three other finalists: Jeremiah Matthews of Southwood Kitchen in Daphne, Scott Simpson of The Depot in Auburn and Matthew Palamara of Coastal Alabama Community College in Gulf Shores.

Jacobsen will represent Alabama in August at the 16th Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans. He also qualified to compete in the 2019 World Food Championships, set for October in Dallas.

“This has been a great experience,” Jacobsen said in a statement posted on the Alabama Gulf Seafood website. “I’m very happy to share this with the people I work with here in Alabama. I came from Peru 13 years ago to this state and fell in love with it. I’m so happy to win this.”

Judges were Jim Smith, chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission; Jeremy Downey, 2018 winner of the Alabama Seafood Cook-Off; Jason Burnett, founding editor of and and David Holloway, food writer and enthusiast.

The annual Alabama Seafood Cook-off is organized by the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission.

For the complete article please see

Alabama’s literary capital honors authors with new sculpture trail
From the article by Dennis Washington on

A new collection of bronze sculptures in downtown Monroeville celebrates some of our country’s most famous writers whose roots originate in this historical area of southwest Alabama.

The Literary Capital Sculpture Trail unveiled Friday afternoon features 14 bronze sculptures created by University of Alabama sculpture students that are on display within a short walk of each other around the Monroe Country Courthouse Museum.

“We have a legacy here and we want people to know what that is,” said Anne Marie Bryan, executive director of Monroeville Main Street. “These sculptures honor the 10 authors who made Monroeville and Monroe County Alabama’s Literary Capital.”

The trail honors 10 writers from Monroeville: Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Cynthia Tucker, Mark Childress, Marva Collins, Rheta Grimsley-Johnson, Riley Kelly, Mike Stewart, William Barret Travis and Hank Williams. Of those 10, three won Pulitzer Prizes: Harper Lee, Cynthia Tucker and Hank Williams. Bryan said the exhibit was created to provide arts and culture for the community, something of interest for tourists and to inspire and educate the children of Monroe County.

“We wanted to provide that inspiration that you can be a poet, a journalist, a novelist, a short story writer or even an artist and follow a creative passion,” she said.

The trail unveiling was planned to coincide with the Alabama Bicentennial celebration and this year’s Alabama Writers Symposium, which was held Thursday and Friday in Monroeville. Alisha Linam, director of the symposium, said the goal is to celebrate Alabama’s writers.

“Our names are known throughout the world,” Linam said. “We’re known for creating and developing good authors.”

Several of those Alabama authors were honored at this year’s symposium, including Daniel Wallace and B.J. Hollars. Wallace, author of five novels — including “Big Fish,” which was later made into a motion picture and a musical on Broadway — was honored with the 2019 Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer, while Hollars, author of several books, including “The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders,” was awarded the 2019 Truman Capote Prize for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of Literary Non-Fiction or the Short Story.

“I’m kind of speechless,” Wallace said. “Because I’m an Alabama writer, this is the best possible recognition I could get.”

Hollars called his award “an incredible honor. It is so humbling. I feel like a kid in a candy store.”

Both men applauded the efforts to celebrate Monroe County’s rich literary heritage with the new trail.

“Literature has a two-pronged effect: it’s just entertainment on the one hand, but on the other hand it really does create better people,” Wallace said. “It really does create a more empathetic and imaginative populace. It would be my hope that this would bring more people to the books of all of the great writers in this state.”

Hollars said it’s nice to visit Monroeville, where reading and literature is valued so deeply.

“You can’t go 20 feet without seeing a placard about a writer or see a statue of a child reading a book or a mural from the book,” he said. “I hope the rest of the nation can take a cue from Monroeville and know that our books are our history and our future, too.”

For the complete article please see

Alabama cities celebrate National Travel and Tourism week on May 5-11
This year and cities around the country are celebrating with special events and activities.

The theme of this year’s national campaign is “Travel Matters.” Each day of the week will celebrate a different facet of travel: the economy, new experiences, jobs, America’s infrastructure, health benefits, hometown pride and how travel strengthens families.

Spotlighting two cities in Alabama:

“Visit Mobile” is preparing to launch Mobile’s travel and tourism celebration during a week-long Travel Rally from May 5-11 in support of the many ways travel contributes to the community.

“Just look at the numbers. Travel supports one in nine American jobs, including over 17,175 right here in Mobile County,” said David Clark, President & CEO, Visit Mobile. “This week, we are celebrating travel’s powerful impact on our community. We’re calling on everyone—from elected officials to all of our local friends and neighbors—to join us in saluting this important industry, and to support pro-travel legislation at the local, state and national level.”

Visit for more details.

Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau is celebrating by hosting their annual Tourism Summit in addition to other special activities. National Travel and Tourism Week is a country-wide, week-long campaign administered by the U.S. Travel Association.

“Travel and tourism is a vital part of our local economy, one that affects the quality of life for both locals and visitors alike,” said Judy Ryals, President/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB. “Tourism is really the first step in the workforce development cycle – to be a city where people want to work, live, and bring business, it must first be a city that people want to visit. Our industry’s success is crucial to so many other facets of our community, and our local hospitality professionals take great pride in making Huntsville/Madison County a top travel destination.”

Visit for more details.

Could passenger rail service between Montgomery and Mobile happen soon?
From the article by Danielle Wallace on

What if your travel time was cut down from a couple hours to less than an hour? Some people think a passenger rail service is the answer.

A feasibility study is currently being done by the state and ADECA. The first phase of the project is from Birmingham to Montgomery. The second phase is from Montgomery to Mobile.

“We have the I-65 corridor – at times it becomes congested,” says Brian Smart planning manager of AECOM.

Right now, a proposal is on the table for the service from Montgomery to Mobile.

“There’s a lot of freight travel within that corridor and this would provide folks with another means of travel between the two cities and then beyond Mobile, access to the city of New Orleans or the Florida Panhandle,” says Smart.

Don Reid says he is interested in learning more about the project that is only in its very early stages.

“It’s just fascinating to see this I guess in a drone’s eye view of the world,” says Reid.

Officials say the project could cost billions.

“I know it’s going to be very expensive. I think in the long run it could be good,” says Reid.

Some are optimistic about the project.

While there is still some uncertainty, people like Reid say it’s worth it to continue learning more on how the service could benefit the River Region.

“Something similar to this worked in Florida but Florida is a different state with a much bigger population,” says Reid.

If the passenger rail service is approved, the stations would be in Greenville, Evergreen and Atmore.

For the complete article please see

Alabama Tourism Department’s 2019 Fall tourism workshop announced 
The Alabama Tourism Department will host its semi-annual Tourism Workshop, Thurs., October 10. This workshop is designed for new tourism industry members, event organizers and anyone else interested in enhancing tourism in their area. Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website

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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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