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Winter 2021

Travel + Leisure Names Birmingham Top Travel Place for 2021

The prestigious travel publication picks its top 50 places to travel this year.

Birmingham, Ala. ----- Vaccines are rolling out along with the widespread desire to travel again.  With that in mind, the respected publication Travel and Leisure has named its top 50 picks for places to travel in 2021, and Birmingham is among them. 

The magazine released its annual selections in late December, calling this year’s list, “50 dynamic, of-the-moment destinations.”  Writer Kelsey Ogletree pointed to several locations that make the Birmingham destination attractive, including Automatic Seafood & Oysters, Red Cat Coffee House, Paper Doll cocktail bar, and the Pizitz global food hall.  Ogletree says places such as these “have brought a vibrancy to the city, where contemporary charm and Southern hospitality mingle on a big scale.”
Other places of interest mentioned in the article were Edgar’s Bakery, Railroad Park, and Protective Stadium which will open in 2021.

“Our inclusion in top places to visit doesn’t happen by accident,” John Oros, Jr., president and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, said.  “We work diligently year ‘round to introduce travel media to our city, and it pays off significantly by bringing attention and new interest to the area.”

Birmingham was in the company of other top places to travel such as Big Sky, Montana, The Catskills, Las Vegas, Miami, and New York City.

Tourism is an important economic generator for Birmingham and Jefferson County.  The latest economic impact study, released in 2020, shows that in 2019, the county hosted an estimated 4.5 million overnight visitors, and tourism-related industries supported more than 33,000 jobs.  Estimated traveler expenditures were $2.4 billion, generating $94 million in total taxes for local government and $170 million in taxes for the state.
“It will, of course, take time for our industry to recover from the devastation COVID-19 brought about, but our hopes for eventual recovery are high,” Oros said.  “Through our digital advertising during this pandemic, we have been inviting travelers to enjoy activities they can safely experience during their visits here.  The results of the campaign have been encouraging, and we continue to address potential visitors with an eye toward safe travel.”

In 2019, the CVB hosted journalists and bloggers from around the world, representing such respected publications and websites as The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, The Group Travel Leader,, and the BBC.

We currently stay in close contact with media around the country and the world, so when they feel it is safe to travel, they will know we’re ready for their visits and for the valuable publicity their visits produce,” Oros said.