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Tourism in the Valley helps the local economy thrive

People faced economic hardship during the pandemic. Now that summer is upon us, one industry, in particular, will help bring some financial relief - tourism.

DECATUR, Ala. — "Last year, tourists from out of state paid a billion dollars in taxes to the cities and the counties in the state of Alabama," said Lee Director of the Alabama Tourism Department, Lee Sentell. 

How is this possible?

"Tourists pay a lot of taxes when they come from Indiana and Ohio and Michigan when they're heading south," said Sentell.

This financial boost from tourism helps the local economy thrive and events like the Alabama Jubilee help bring in more out-of-state tourists to the valley.

RELATED: Sports tourism boosts Huntsville/Madison County economy

"People are able to get out with their families, again, live normal lives, get the economy going. A lot of small businesses here were heavily crushed by this pandemic. So, these kind of events are terrific, they bring folks in from out of state. I met a lot of people from Mississippi and Tennessee here today. They get to come see Northern Alabama and the great things that go on here," said Casey Wardynski, who is running for the Fifth Congressional seat for North Alabama. 

With summer comes more tourism, Sentell says that this event is a kick-off to the summer season and a signal for people to get out and enjoy other tourism opportunities.

"From a tourism standpoint, this is the unofficial beginning of the summer season. It means that people are going to be coming to Point Mallard throughout the summer to go to the wave pool or to camp, or other kinds of activities for the whole family. So, it's just a lot of excitement, and a lot of fun to start the summer, particularly after this past year that's been such a depressing time. So, it's a signal, it's time to go outside and visit tourist attractions and be with friends and family," said Sentell.

RELATED: Huntsville/ Madison County Visitor Center anticipating more tourists as summer approaches

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