Small towns, downtowns focus of 2010 tourism

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – Alabama's small towns and downtowns are about to be put in the spotlight thanks to the Alabama Tourism Department and its 2010 vacation guide. The guide will feature more than 200 "Great Alabama Homecoming Celebrations".

"We are proud to celebrate 2010 as the Year of Small Towns and Downtowns," said Governor Bob Riley. "We invite residents and visitors to join the Great Alabama Homecoming events and experience southern hospitality at its finest," he added.

Some of the celebrations the department will focus on in 2010 include: the 50th Anniversary of Harper Lee's Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird in Monroeville; the 100th Anniversary of America's Oldest Ballpark, Rickwood Field in Birmingham; Jubilee CityFest in Montgomery; the 50th Anniversary of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, and Foley's 10th Anniversary of Heritage Harbor Days.

Alabama's cuisine is also highlighted in the guide as well as the attraction of the year and the new Spa Trail along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. A special section on great chefs, great restaurants and great food can be found on pages 14-15. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was named the Attraction of the Year and is featured on page 16. Readers will find details about some of the nation's top rated spas on page 18.

The guide, packed with 157 pages of suggestions, provides travelers with everything they need to plan a vacation, including information on hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, tourism associations, state parks, golfing, attractions, trails and museums.

Governor Riley says the vacation guide is "a valuable tool" and it will help travelers get the most they can out of Alabama.

The 2010 Alabama Vacation Guide is available at all eight state welcome centers across the state. Copies of the publication can also be obtained by calling 1.800.ALABAMA or visiting www.alabama.travel. Compass Marketing of Gulf Shores publishes the vacation guide.