Selma enhancing efforts to draw more tourists

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Myrtis Williams, Jr. is the type of person Selma tourism directors want to see in town.

"I like Selma, it's so historic," Williams said.

He's from Detroit, and visits the city often.  Each time, he likes it more.

"Since the 80s, we've been coming twice maybe three times a year, and I've seen quite a lot of improvement," says Williams.

City planners say thanks to folks like Williams, lodging tax revenues were up roughly 18% last year.

Selma Tourism Director Candace Johnson says getting folks to the city starts with getting rid of old Selma TV commercials.

"We are looking for new footage to update the look of Selma because that's the direction we're taking in tourism. We're being progressive.  We're holding onto our history, but we're moving forward," says Johnson.

As the city strives to bring more tourists to town, downtown business owners are jumping on the bandwagon.  Many of them are offering gifts that are unique to Selma giving visitors a little piece of the city to take home with them.

"We have the Taste of Old Selma, which is the joint effort on the historic district to put together a wonderful cookbook, Land of Cotton which is from Morgan Academy, one of the local private schools," says Doris Truax, owner of a Broad Street jewelry store.

Truax and Tim Williamson--both downtown merchants--appreciate the city's efforts and are taking their own initiative, too.

"Our business was mainly prescriptions, filling prescriptions, so we tried to add some up front merchandise to catch the flow of people coming into the drug store," says Williamson, owner of Carter Drug on Broad Street.

One thing is for sure, Williams is already sold on Selma.

"We're going to be retiring, my wife and I, in the next couple years, and we're literally looking for properties today."

Tourism directors plan to have the new television spots out by March. They'll air across the river region, and in Mississippi and Georgia.

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