Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department, said the state has benefited as folks stay closer to home this summer. While tourism nationally is reportedly down 3 percent from last year, Alabama has seen tourism revenue rise 3 percent so far in 2008, he said. Alabama tourism expenditures hit a record $9.3 billion last year, up 10 percent from 2006. Though it is unlikely Alabama will maintain the momentum of the double-digit increases of past two years, Sentell said Alabama is faring much better than many other states.
“Most Birmingham area families who traditionally vacation at Alabama’s beaches won’t cancel a trip this summer solely because gasoline cost more than last year,” he said. “At $4.07 a gallon, a family traveling from Birmingham would only pay about $45 more and a family from Montgomery only $23 more than last year.” Rather than being hurt by gasoline prices, Sentell said Alabama’s beaches might actually be attracting more families who traditionally travel to central Florida. “Our beaches have an 85 percent return rate, which is among the highest loyalty rates among the nation’s top destinations,” Sentell said. http://www.al.com/business/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/business/1214554574111250.xml&coll=2
From the article “Alabama tourism officials marketing state as a cost-efficient vacation destination: Officials capitalize on rising gasoline costs” by Roy L. Williams