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Alabama Issues Hotel Rooms Advisory due to Hurricane Dennis

(Montgomery, Ala.) — Gulf Coast residents and tourists seeking refuge

from hurricane Dennis will have a better chance to find hotel rooms in

Birmingham and Huntsville than other cities in Alabama, State Tourism

Director Lee Sentell said Friday.

About 1,000 of Jefferson County’s 12,000 hotel rooms remained available

late Friday afternoon, according to a survey by the Alabama Bureau of

Tourism & Travel. About 1,300 of Huntsville’s 5,200 rooms were available

Friday. Decatur, west of I-65 had 500 of its 1,700 rooms open.

South Alabama hotels and motels reported being virtually sold out for

Friday night, with only scattered vacancies further north in Montgomery,

Auburn and Tuscaloosa.

Alabama has 59,000 hotel guest rooms, but nearly 40 percent are south

of Interstate 10 in Mobile and Baldwin counties, the area under evacuation,

Sentell said. Hotels along interstate routes reported brisk reservation

activity

on Friday. Hotels in smaller cities away from major highways had more

vacancies.

The state tourism agency planned to staff the north-bound Clanton Rest

Area on I-65 to share hotel room information with travelers, Sentell said.

Motorists were also encouraged to phone the state tourism agency at 1-

800-Alabama on Saturday for vacancy information.