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$800K grant awarded to help ‘Alabama’s sparkling Gulf Coast’ tourism rebound from pandemic

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) on Thursday awarded $800,000 via a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau to develop and implement a tourism recovery marketing campaign in response to the economic downturn that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This grant will also be matched with $200,000 in local investment, according to an EDA release.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, as well as the unincorporated area of Fort Morgan. The organization proudly showcases the gems that are Alabama’s Gulf beaches — a major source of tourism and revenue not just for the local area but for the state as a whole.

“This investment will fund a strategic, multi-faceted marketing campaign designed to attract visitors to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, resulting in continuous economic growth and job creation,” stated Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

The investment will reportedly fund a series of marketing strategies, including identification of the most productive consumer markets and areas of opportunity, research into the most lucrative advertising platforms and the development of appropriate messaging.

“Alabama’s sparkling Gulf Coast is one of the many reasons that our state is a premiere destination to spend time with family or friends,” said Governor Kay Ivey in a statement. “COVID-19 has brought on challenging times for tourism around the globe, and I am excited to see this grant supporting our Coast safely welcome back visitors. Alabama is a place where southern hospitality, good food and beautiful places are abound, and we invite everyone to come enjoy all that our Coast offers.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

“COVID was disastrous for the tourism industry and Alabama’s Gulf Coast was not spared,” concluded U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). “As travel begins to pick back up, these funds will be used to help to draw visitors back to Alabama beaches and generate much needed revenue for local communities.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn