When you are trying to grow your business, I believe it’s very important to take any opportunity given to you to network, whether that opportunity is in the form of a local networking event or at a conference. The Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism was held in Birmingham last weekend, so, I took my own advice and decided to attend. I have attended the conference before, and in fact, it’s been years since I have attended it.
The Alabama Travel Council and the Alabama Tourism Department partner every year and offer a conference that updates Convention and Visitor Bureau staff, Tourist Attraction operators, festival and events staff and tourism marketers on the state of tourism in Alabama. Gov. Kay Ivey spoke during the opening general session and praised the attendees for all they do to attract tourists to Alabama.
The tourism industry’s economic impact on the State of Alabama is $13B in revenue according to the Alabama Tourism Department. Alabama’s efforts around the world and marketing around the country have increased the number of foreign and domestic tourists coming to Alabama over the past few years. The Alabama Department of Tourism works with a Birmingham ad agency to market the state all around the world. Agency representatives showed highlights from their public relations and ad campaigns. I was especially fascinated by the campaigns the agency used to promote the state in New York City. One promotion used virtual reality to let New Yorkers get a taste of what it was like to see Little River Canyon in Dekalb County Alabama up close and personal. There also was a campaign where the agency built a replica of the white sandy beaches along Alabama’s Gulf Coast and invited people in New York to experience what it was like to lounge on an Alabama beach. I saw that particular campaign on social media about a year or two ago and liked it so much that I shared the photo and article about the event. The promotional event was a very clever move in my opinion.