MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - I often stand here and show you graphs or site statistics that show Alabama at the bottom of any particular category. Well today I am going give you some positive news about our state, the region and an industry that is showing tremendous growth.
Tourism in Alabama has grown 86% since 2003. Estimates show that statewide the tourism industry grew by 7.7% just last year, as more than 25 million visitors spent $12.6 billion.
In Montgomery County alone $777 million was spent and 11,981 jobs are in some way tied to tourism. Montgomery County ranks fifth in total dollars in the state. If you include the entire River Region we would rank even higher.
City and county officials along with chamber leaders are to be commended for the effort to drive tourism to our region. The RSA has had a huge impact on tourism with the building of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, along with other outdoor projects. Even my parent company, Raycom, has gotten into the mix by bringing the Camellia Bowl to Montgomery two years ago and signing on for years to come.
According to a report by economist Dr. Keivan Deravi, without the dollars collected by the tourism industry each household in the state would end up paying $424 in additional taxes each year.
So next time you are at a Biscuits game, on an RTJ golf course, or at one of the many other events available to us, and you see an obvious out-of-towner enjoying it with you, say thanks. They just paid a small part of your taxes.