By Paul DeMarco
BIRMINGHAM — Alabama’s success in attracting new manufacturing plants is the envy of other states around the Nation.
When you look at all of the auto plants in the state and their suppliers, that alone has driven Alabama’s economy in the positive direction. When you add aviation, the defense industry and technology sector jobs to the equation, Alabama is a hot place to do business right now.
Yet, Alabama continues to make waves in another arena – tourism.
For the sixth time in 13 years, Alabama has won an award from the National Council of State Tourism Directors.
It does not hurt that our state topography includes everything from the base of the Appalachian Mountains to the white sandy beaches on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
Alabama is recognized as having one of the country’s best tourism programs in the country.
Dollars generated by tourism grew by 8.5% last year and increased to over $15 billion. in 2018. This amounts to almost a billion dollars in state and local taxes that support everything from education to public safety.
The state will maintain its strong position to be a draw for the manufacturing companies.
Thus, Alabama leaders need to continue to support one of the other shining stars for the state – its tourism industry.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.