Riley wants Memorial Day vacationers on Alabama's beaches

MONTGOMERY, AL - With a sunny weather forecast for the Memorial Day weekend ahead, Governor Bob Riley urged residents to vacation at the state's Gulf Coast beaches this weekend.

"While we are advertising to attract out-of-state tourists to come this weekend, we certainly also want Alabamians to vacation here," he said.

The Governor has been in Baldwin and Mobile counties frequently during the past month and remains in touch with local tourism officials about the image challenges posed by the BP oil spill.

"Our white sandy beaches are as pristine as ever and the seafood caught in the Gulf of Mexico by local fishermen has never tasted better," he said.  "There are plenty of accommodations available at affordable rates."

State tourism director Lee Sentell said some $15 million donated by BP to strengthen the tourism industry will be used to advertise destinations from Dauphin Island and Bayou La Batre to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Midwestern and Southern states for the rest of the summer. In addition, attractions such as concerts at the Wharf, the Battleship Alabama and Foley outlet stores will be promoted, Sentell said.