Alabama’s tourism and travel industry increased by 10 percent over the previous year, according to an economic impact report released by Gov. Bob Riley. An estimated 22.4 million people visited the state last year and spent over $9.3 billion in Alabama. Travelers paid over $685 million in state and local lodging and sales taxes, according to a survey conducted by the Alabama Tourism Department.
Baldwin County led the state with almost $2.3 billion in traveler related spending, Jefferson County was second with $1.5 billion, Madison County was third at $900 million and Mobile County ranked fourth with $890 million. Montgomery County was fifth with $542 million.
The number of jobs in Alabama’s hospitality industry grew 4 percent to over 7,000 jobs from the previous year. The industry was responsible for approximately 115,000 direct jobs and 55,000 spin-off jobs for a total of 170,000, over 8.5 percent of all non-agricultural jobs in Alabama.
“Alabama has beautiful gulf coast beaches, great festivals, outstanding food and hospitality that attract tourists. The dollars that they spend create jobs, grow local economies and generate needed tax revenues,” said Riley.
The analysis conducted by Auburn University Montgomery said that every $80,872 in travel industry spending creates one direct job in Alabama. Additionally for every two direct jobs created, the state’s economy indirectly creates one additional job.
The Alabama Tourism Department, which is funded by a quarter of the state’s 4 percent lodging tax, authorized the 34-page AUM study. The remaining $34 million of the state lodging tax benefited the state’s General Fund.
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