AL. beach attendance shows big drop -, GA News Weather & Sports

AL beach attendance shows big drop

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) - State tourism figures show Alabama's beaches had a million fewer visitors in 2010 than the year before, a decline attributed to the Gulf oil spill.

A new report by the Alabama Tourism Department says the Gulf Coast beaches drew 3.6 million visitors last year, compared with 4.6 million in 2009. Many of those who did visit took advantage of deep discounts.

Edith Parten, spokeswoman for the Alabama Tourism Department, says Gulf State Park recorded 300,000 fewer visitors in 2010 than the previous year, while many other parks across Alabama saw an increase.

Parten says the goal for the state and for the beach communities is to lure former visitors back to the shores.

The state tourism department is featuring beaches on the cover of this year's vacation guide, on its calendar and on the state map.

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