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Alabama tourism stayed strong during pandemic

Orange Beach, photo courtesy Alabama Department of Tourism
Orange Beach, photo courtesy Alabama Department of Tourism
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 4:57 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2021 at 8:25 PM EST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As many people reflect on the trips that took this year, Alabama tourism is looking at how many of them were in the state.

“The year just ending has been different from previous COVID years because people kind of know what to expect,” said Lee Sentell, director of Alabama Tourism.

People are more use to wearing masks and practicing social distancing. And in 2020, Alabama was among the top five states with the least loss of tourism revenue.

“It’s all because of the beaches, beaches and state parks and campgrounds and RVs of people wanting to get outdoors,” said Sentell.

Sentell credits some of the success to perfect timing.

“We had planned and had already begun to execute a three-year campaign about outdoor recreation in Alabama, and we started that in January just as COVID was starting,” he said.

However, big cities that depend on conventions and meetings didn’t have the same turnout.

“A lot of those just have not happened in the last couple of years. And so the convention and visitors bureaus and the cities have had to adjust their spending and their expectations accordingly,” said Sentell.

Plans to attract more tourists in 2022 are under wraps, but Sentell says big things are coming.

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