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Spring 2018


April 25, 2018
CONTACT:   J. John Oros, Jr.
                        President & CEO
                        Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau
                        205-458-8000 or
The economic impact of tourism spending in Jefferson County hits an all-time high.
Birmingham, Ala. ----- Tourists visiting the greater Birmingham area in 2017 left the county with record profits thanks to their increased numbers and spending patterns. 
                        According to the most recent economic impact study done for the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, visitors spent an estimated $1.9 billion, a 5% increase over 2016 spending totals.  The study is commissioned annually by the CVB and is conducted by Davidson-Peterson Associates, a national travel research firm with headquarters in Maine.
                        The study also found an increase in tourist-generated taxes, with total taxes for the state reported at $158.9 million, a 5% increase over 2016.  Local government received more than $85.5 million in taxes produced by tourism in Jefferson County, another 5% increase over the previous year.  Tourism-related jobs totaled more than 29,000 in 2017, showing a nearly 6% increase.
                        The greater Birmingham area was host to more than 4.6 million overnight visitors throughout 2017, an increase of 4.5% from 2016.
                        “We are welcoming more visitors than ever before,” J. John Oros, Jr., CVB president and CEO said.  “Last year was a strong year for travel to Birmingham for a number of reasons.  Successful events like the Senior Games brought in new visitors as did national and international media attention.  Business travel is up, along with meetings and conventions, and amateur sporting events and tournaments, creating a strong demand for hotel rooms.”
                        Tourist spending patterns in 2017 closely followed those of 2016, with dining expenditures (28%) outpacing shopping (25%) for the fifth year and holding the top spot.
                        “It’s not surprising that dining is the strongest spending category,” Oros said.  “We heavily market award-winning cuisine and chef-owned restaurants in the greater Birmingham area.  Dining experiences remain a list-topper for reasons people travel.”
                        Jefferson County lodging managers estimated that 59% of their guests came for business travel or for meetings and conventions, and the balance were leisure travelers.  Other findings of note showed that 55% of visitors in Jefferson County in 2017 were from out of state, a reversal from previous years when most visits were in-state travel. 
                        “Tourism expenditures in 2017 reflect the general trend of nationwide increases in travel.  As long as the economy and consumer confidence remain strong, we expect 2018 to meet and surpass 2017’s record numbers.” Oros said.  “The growth of tourism in Jefferson County is a solid indicator of tourism’s value as an economic generator.”
                        In 2016, the CVB launched a community-wide initiative to develop a Tourism Master Plan for Jefferson County.  The blueprint defines a new path for tourism in the area, plotting a course for the next 20 years.  Work is currently underway to establish branding, to expand audiences for festival and events, to initiate improvements to infrastructure and much more. 
                        “The Tourism Master Plan is a community-involvement project that continues to gain momentum through the interest and input of community leaders and their desire to position our area as an inviting travel destination,” Oros said. “The latest economic impact report shows we’re headed in the right direction.”