Tourism Tuesday July 14, 2020

State launches ‘Revive Alabama’ grant program

Travel to Montgomery

Gulf Coast small towns place as winners

Spend an Alabama summer outdoors

July 9 marked 160 years since Clotilda arrived in Mobile Bay

Southeast Tourism Society reschedules inaugural Domestic Showcase

Alabama Tourism Partner Pointer

State launches ‘Revive Alabama’ grant program
From the article by Howard Koplowitz on

Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced a $100 million grant program that will give small businesses up to $15,000 for expenses occurred because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Small businesses will be eligible for the “Revive Alabama” program if they didn’t receive federal assistance for the expenses that they claim to the state, the governor’s office said. The expenses have to be incurred by operational interruptions caused by the pandemic and related business closures. The funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until the $100 million is used up.

“In many ways, our small businesses were hit the hardest from the coronavirus pandemic,” Ivey said in a statement. “Ensuring these owners have every opportunity to recoup expenses incurred due the disruption of business is essential to getting our economy roaring once again.”

Business owners can apply for a “Revive Alabama” grant here. Applications will be taken from noon on July 16 until midnight on July 26.

All applicants have to sign up for a My Alabama Taxes account to protect their personal and business information on their applications.

For the complete article please see

Travel to Montgomery
From the article by Brianna Goebel on

Editor’s note: Locations or attractions mentioned in this article may have altered hours of operation or be temporarily closed. Please contact them before planning a visit.

Established in 1819, Montgomery is the capital and one of the largest cities in the state of Alabama. Situated on the banks of the Alabama River, the city has played an important role in some of the most pivotal moments in America’s history. Emerging from its agricultural roots in the 19th century, Montgomery transformed from the “Cradle of the Confederacy” to the “Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement” in less than a century and has been a place that faced intolerable issues head-on — initiating unprecedented change for the better. Today, this vibrant river town is experiencing a resurgence with a revitalized downtown and re-establishing itself as a landmark Deep South destination — inspiring visitors to believe that together we can be the change.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival
Located on the grounds of the 293-acre Blount Cultural Park, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) is one of the largest Shakespeare festivals in the world and one of the largest professional theaters in Alabama — staging around 10 productions a year. From its founding in a high school auditorium in Anniston in 1972 to its designation as the State Theatre of Alabama in 1977 to the stunning $21.5 million performing arts complex in Montgomery, ASF has been a leader in the performing arts throughout the state, region and country. As a beloved Alabama arts institution, ASF broadens the cultural identity of the South by producing Shakespeare classics, contemporary plays, musicals, theatre for young audiences and exciting new works everyone in the family can enjoy. Not to mention visitors can walk the breathtaking grounds of Blount Cultural Park for free before a show.

Equal Justice Initiative Memorial to Peace & Justice and Legacy Museum
Displaying the history of slavery and racism in America, this memorial and museum opened to the public for the first time in April 2018. Since opening, these cultural experiences have been visited by more than 800,000 visitors. The memorial — located on a six-acre park — is a sacred space for reflection on racial terrorism in America, and the museum (just a short walk away) uses interactive media, sculpture, film and exhibits to immerse and educate visitors. In 2020, EJI added a location of the renowned Alabama restaurant Pannie George, more retail and exhibition space, bus parking, and a shuttle station just blocks away. While somber in nature, both institutions are thought-provoking and will stimulate interesting conversation between you and your family for the remainder of your stay.

Rosa Parks Library, Museum and Statue
The Rosa Parks Library and Museum tells the inspiring activist’s story in several multimedia displays, including a permanent exhibit, time machine, temporary exhibit, archives, classroom, conference room and an auditorium. An important icon in the Civil Rights Movement and the catalyst of the Montgomery bus boycott, Rosa Parks is known for her courage, and she serves as a reminder for future generations of the struggles many faced as a result of segregation. There is also a new bronze monument of the civil rights pioneer by the city’s Court Square Fountain — only feet from where Rosa Parks boarded the public bus on Dec. 1, 1955.

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
Dr. Martin Luther King was only 24 when he came to Montgomery to accept his first appointment as a pastor in a little red brick church. It was here he began his pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church contains the pulpit from which King first preached his message of hope and brotherhood. Visitors can take a tour of this National Historic Landmark to learn more about the national leader and his influence on American history.

Downtown Montgomery
Visitors can park and put away their keys once they arrive in Montgomery. The walkable downtown area has recently been revitalized, and there is no better way to discover its historic and cultural sites, beautiful riverfront and delicious eateries than on foot. Wander from the pulpit where Dr. King preached, to the sidewalk where Rosa Parks boarded a bus and ignited a revolution. Take in the city’s street art and building murals or cheer on the Montgomery Biscuits — an AA minor league baseball team — at their award-winning Riverwalk Stadium. Try a famous hot dog from 103-year-old Chris’ Hot Dogs, or taste Central’s reinvented Southern cuisine featuring favorites like pimento cheese and shrimp and grits. Segway and bike rentals are available to rent downtown, and adventurers can even explore the neighboring Alabama River by kayak or paddleboard. Regardless of your mode of transportation, the possibilities are endless in Montgomery.

For the complete article please see

Gulf Coast small towns place as winners
From the article on

Alabama has two small towns, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach announced as USA Today’s 2020 Small Towns Readers’ Choice award winners.

The sister communities placed in two categories, Best Coastal Small Town and Best Small Town Food Scene.

Best Coastal Small Town
9. Gulf Shores

Best Small Town Food Scene
8. Orange Beach

For the complete listing of the USA Today’s 10Best go to:

Spend an Alabama summer outdoors
From the article on

Be it standing at the foothills of the Appalachians in countless river valleys or on the sugar white beaches of the Gulf, natural wonders abound for the explorer in you.  Caves, caverns, and towering mountaintops – adventure awaits. Marvel in the beauty of our many trails and waterways which are sure to take you off the beaten path. The 22 state parks, which encompass 48,000 acres of land and water, provide endless opportunities to fish, camp, canoe, hike and enjoy the great outdoors. Each season in Alabama brings a beautiful change for adventurers to enjoy all year long.

Alabama’s 7 Natural Wonders
Go for a hike, a bike, or a stroll through picturesque mountains, layered canyons and scenic valleys in Sweet Home Alabama. After you’ve done that, take a cool dip in one of the many cascading waterfalls or winding rivers that you will find hidden throughout the wilderness. If trekking through the great outdoors is not your thing, our Alabama beaches are here to provide you with a relaxing getaway. Whatever your interest may be,  there’s no better place to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air than in the great state of Alabama.

From free flowing rivers to the towering mountaintops, natural wonders abound in Sweet Home Alabama. See below for seven of our favorites:

Mount Cheaha
The 2,799-acre mountaintop retreat is the highest point in Alabama with an unbeatable view that is unlike any other. As you stand at the top of Mt. Cheaha, you are surrounded by miles and miles of Talladega National Forest. The forest continues on as far as the eye can see.

No matter what season, these breathtaking views are available all year round.

Dismals Canyon
Deep in the canyon along the canyon floor is where you will find the geological and biological splendor that lands this site on the list of Alabama’s Seven Natural Wonders. As you walk along the 1.5-mile long hiking trail, you’ll encounter cascading waterfalls, deep caverns, moss-covered rocks and diverse plant life that will transport you into a thriving world of natural beauty. If the natural beauty of this canyon doesn’t draw you in, how about an experience that can only be found in three areas of the world? The Dismalites found in Dismals Canyon are a type of glowworm that emits a bright blue-green light to attract its prey. When the conditions are just right, the glow of these creatures make it difficult to determine where the Dismalites end and the night sky begins. Peak seasons to visit are April through May and late September through early October.

Little River Canyon
Towering rock bluffs that look over a rushing river below make Little River Canyon a place of solitude where you can truly take it all in. Its ability to showcase the power that water has on shaping the land is just one of the features that make it one of Alabama’s Seven Natural Wonders. As you stand on the rigid bluffs overlooking the canyon, you can feel the cool canyon air on your skin and hear the rush of the river below. Little River Canyon is truly an oasis amid the business of life.

Cathedral Caverns
Cathedral Caverns received its name because of its cathedral-like appearance. You enter the caverns through a grand entrance, but that’s just the beginning. As you move deeper into the depths of the cave, you encounter some of the most beautiful rock formations ever created. Along with hearing the gurgle of the “Mystery River,” you will encounter  a “caveman” perched atop a flowstone wall, a “frozen” waterfall and a stalagmite forest that contains one of the largest stalagmites in the world.

Mobile-Tensaw Delta
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is a vast region of wetlands that is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the United States. This phenomenal region features numerous interconnected stream systems, floodplains, swamps, bayous, lakes and forests. The 45-mile long delta is home to 1,071 flora and fauna species. Out of these species that call the Mobile-Tensaw Delta their home, 67 of them are rare, imperiled, threatened or endangered. More importantly, and perhaps, one of the most fascinating things about this bio-diverse land is that the Delta is the place where all the water flowing downhill from the rest of the state meets the sea.

Cahaba River
The Cahaba River is Alabama’s longest stretch of free-flowing river with an abundance of biological diversity. This river is home to more fish species per mile than any other river in the country. In May you can find a rare and beautiful sight along the babbling waters of the Cahaba, although the Cahaba Lily is as rare as it is fleeting. They consist of large white blossoms with a bright green center and petals that spread in a shape resembling a star. These lilies bloom between late May and early June. Each lily blooms in the evening, but usually withers away the next day.

Gulf Coast Beaches
The sugar-white sands and turquoise waters of Alabama beaches are a crowd favorite. As soon as you step on the warm, soft sands, it’s like a cushion forms around every curve of your foot. Walk a little further, and you will step right into the warm, clear turquoise waters that go as far as the eye can see. Just the beauty of the beach itself lands it on the list of the Seven Wonders of Alabama.

Whether you’re interested in going off the grid in the great outdoors or simply disconnecting beach-side, plan your Alabama-inspired escape today. Which of our Seven Wonders of Alabama are you visiting first?

For the complete article please see e0807034-c39f-11ea-969e-63026e789b47.html

July 9 marked 160 years since Clotilda arrived in Mobile Bay
From the article on

One hundred and sixty years ago on July 9, 1860, the schooner Clotilda arrived in Mobile Bay. The ship was carrying 110 people who were taken from their homes in Africa and smuggled into Alabama as slaves.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said, “This shameful and illegal act is a painful part of our history, and the Clotilda is remembered as the last known slave ship to enter the U.S.”

In recent years, the wreckage of the Clotilda was discovered in Mobile Bay, not far from the Africatown community where many of the descendants continue to reside. Efforts are underway to build a new visitor’s center in Africatown, and to create a memorial for the Clotilda.

“We will embrace the story of Africatown. We won’t run from it. We will tell this story to the world. I encourage you to learn more about the Clotilda story, and to join our efforts to find creative ways to link our history with a brighter future for all of our citizens,” Stimpson said.

For the complete article please see

Southeast Tourism Society reschedules inaugural Domestic Showcase
From the article by Ozgur Tore on

The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) announced that planning for its inaugural Domestic Showcase, scheduled for Feb. 8-11, 2021, in Huntsville, AL, will be rescheduled due to the nation’s current COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing concerns for public health and safety. STS is working to develop a new online education and networking program for Domestic Showcase group tour buyers, tourism product suppliers and travel journalists to be held in Spring 2021. Additional information about the new online program, registration and sponsorship opportunities will be announced later this fall.

“We carefully evaluated various options for the 2021 event and surveyed previous Domestic Showcase participants to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on both their budgets and health & safety concerns. We are appreciative of the support we have received from the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Alabama Tourism Department as we worked through the process to reach this difficult decision, but one that we know is best for the health and well-being of our members, partners and the industry,” said STS President & CEO Monica Smith.  She indicated that STS will partner with the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau and Virginia Tourism Corporation to host the society’s inaugural Domestic Showcase event in Virginia Beach, VA, Feb. 13-15, 2022, and that they are working closely with the Alabama Host Committee to finalize dates for 2023.

“The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau appreciates our strong partnership with the Southeast Tourism Society. Although the decision to reschedule Domestic Showcase was difficult, the health and well-being of the showcase participants is paramount. We appreciate the consideration, cooperation, and professional manner in which the determination was made, and we look forward to working with the Southeast Tourism Society to ensure a successful Domestic Showcase in Huntsville, Alabama, in 2023,” said Judy Ryals, President & CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB.

Smith said, “As always, STS is committed to supporting the efforts of our members and partners, as we all work to safely revive the travel industry by bringing the attention of group tour businesses, leisure travelers and the travel media to the amazing tourism assets our region offers.”

For the complete article please see

Alabama Tourism Partner Pointer

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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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