Dallas County contributes heavily to Black Belt tourism

Published 10:08 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

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According to a report by the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association, Dallas County is a solid contributor to the black belt region. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic impact of tourism on the Black Belt drastically changed and now sits at $1.9 billion. Last year’s economic impact was $3.8 billion, accounting for 45,500 jobs.

Dallas County’s economic impact was $106,000, growing from $78,000 in 2020. Total employment went from 1,084 to 1,310.

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Dr. Keivan Deravi of Economics Research Services wrote the report, “The Economic Impact of Tourism in Alabama’s Black Belt Region.” 

“Tourism is a key factor in Alabama’s growing economy,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. I’m excited to see the growth of the tourism industry in the Black Belt.”

ALBBAA director Pam Swanner said she is not surprised at the region’s impact.

“Alabama’s Black Belt attracts visitors for a wide variety of reasons, led by outdoor recreational activities like hunting, fishing, birding, hiking and camping,” Swanner said. “This report clearly shows that every county in the Black Belt benefits from tourism, and it also shows the positive impact those tourism dollars have on our state budgets.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • Black Belt tourism was responsible for an estimated 45,500 direct and indirect Alabama jobs in 2023, a 5% increase from the year before.
  • State and local governments received $219 million in taxes from Black Belt tourism.
  • Hunting and fishing accounts for $1.7 billion in annual economic impact, representing nearly half of all tourism spending in the Black Belt.
  • Tourism pumped $750 million into rural counties’ economies last year.

The counties of Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox are also part of the Black Belt Region.