Tourism has $66M impact on local economy

Published 12:50 am Sunday, March 9, 2014

As the first groups were arriving in to Selma for the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee — the first of thousands — the Alabama Department of Tourism released preliminary estimates showing just how much tourism meant to the Selma and Dallas County economy.

The amount released showed visitors spent $66 million and were responsible for 1,000 jobs last year in Dallas County. Travel spending figures for the previous year were $80 million.

The report showed travelers spent money on hotels, restaurants, retail purchases and transportation with every $98,170 in travel industry spending creating one direct job in Alabama.

Additionally for every two direct jobs created, the state’s economy indirectly creates one additional job.

“The tourism numbers for 2013 bring great economic news for Alabama. The dollars spent on tourism creates jobs, it grows local economies and generates needed tax revenues,” Tourism Director Lee Sentell said. “Without the dollars collected by the tourism industry each household in the state would end up paying almost $400 in additional taxes.”

Estimates showed that statewide the tourism industry grew by 3 percent, with more than 24 million visitors providing an economic impact of $11 billion in 2013.

Over the 10-year-period from 2003 to 2013, travel spending in Alabama has increased 51 percent according to the report conducted by Auburn University Montgomery.

The complete state tourism economic impact report will be available in early April.