Alabama led the nation last year with its increase in the number of overseas visitors, state travel officials announced August 13.
With 384,000 overseas visitors, who spent $585 million in Alabama in 2018, the state had a 10 percent increase over the year before, according to a report prepared for Travel South USA by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company that is one of the world’s leading providers of economic analysis, forecasts and consulting advice.
“Alabama experienced very strong growth in both international air arrivals and foreign credit card activity in 2018,” said Tourism Economic Senior Economist Geoff Lacher. “Alabama had the highest state growth rate in the entire U.S. The fast growth rates from mature, typically slow-growing markets like Australia (13 percent), France (12 percent), the UK (9 percent) and Germany (7 percent) is especially impressive.”
Alabama Tourism Department Deputy Director Grey Brennan said the report showed that visitors are traveling to Alabama from every region of the world. “The Alabama Tourism Department and Brand USA, America’s destination marketing organization, worked together on several international promotions in 2018 featuring state tourism destinations including the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, Muscle Shoals recording studios, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail,” said Brennan.
The entire Alabama travel industry grew by more than $1 billion in 2018 to a record of $15.5 billion in expenditures, and increased jobs by 11,984 to some 198,890 employees. The state’s travel industry attracted more than 27.7 million visitors, which paid $954 million in state and local taxes, saving the average Alabama family $507 from additional taxes to maintain current service levels.