Friday, October 30, 2009

Tourism Fiscal Year Results by John Dersham

Despite tough economic times tourism in DeKalb County maintained results well above national averages. The key to our success in tough times is our location and low cost to visit. We are blessed with a great amount of natural beauty and the venues to support tourism. We have 11 million people within a 200 mile radius of us and a good interstate system to get people here. We have become a regional favorite for tourists seeking a relaxing scenic get-a-way where parks, attractions, lodging, restaurants and shopping is all readily available at costs well under the national average. Our top states for DeKalb County tourism are Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia. We also get many visitors from Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana whom love our mountains and lakes and we are not too far for two or three day vacation. This year there has been a strong nationwide trend toward shorter travel distances and a lower expenditure per person. We are ideally suited for these trends. Lodgings income reports for the year show tourists are continuing to visit our area in substantial numbers. The area adversely affected is a loss in lodging year to date due to fewer corporate travelers on the road. This is fueled by a high un-employment rate and a trend toward companies cutting travel budgets and using electronic communications in place of face to face visitation.
This spring when the calendar year results are released we think tourist’s revenues for the state will be down especially in the areas of retail and restaurant spending. Our overall income from tourism should come in well above the national average in DeKalb County and in the state. Alabama is an upcoming state in the area of tourism. Unlike Florida, New York, Vegas etc, we are still developing our markets and should have solid long term growth for years to come in DeKalb County and in our entire state.
I am including a press release from the state concerning Alabama’s fiscal year results.
Alabama’s hospitality industry fares much better than rest of nation
Alabama's hospitality industry fared much better than the national average during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Alabama Department of Revenue says. Because of the recession, spending in the state dipped approximately 7 percent while the national average was down 14 percent. Tourism Director Lee Sentell said the department reduced spending by 12 percent in anticipation of the national slowdown in travel. "The Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area had a good summer and we anticipate travel to pick up in 2010," he said.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

54th Annual VFW DeKalb County Agricultural Fair by John Dersham

Our fair is another example of the close fellowship we enjoy here in ....DeKalb.. ..County..... The fair exemplifies of a whole lot of people volunteering their time, working together with civic organizations, agricultural organizations, art and cultural clubs, local businesses and schools to produce one of the finest county fairs you will see anywhere in our region. Year after year our VFW fair is a big success. It is the effort of so many people representing various entities in our county that make it so successful, including the efforts of the fair staff and committees headed up by VFW Fair Chairman Charles Stephens. The difference in our fair, compared to other counties in our region has nothing to do with the midway and the carnival portion , but instead, the well organized, highly attended locally produced venues.

We treat our fair just like most everything else we do here in ....DeKalb.. ..County..... We get involved and we participate. If you question this go to any local football game on Friday night and further more go to an away game and see how many are there from our home towns. We are exactly how we Americans like to define ourselves. We support the efforts of our communities in the area of schools, law enforcement, political offices, volunteer agencies, churches, local civic organizations and clubs. We support fighting for our freedom and for our way of life. When there is a disaster we are out in force to help.

Today in this crazy world where everything seems to be changing minute by minute it is nice to live and work in a community that has transcended these changes and kept its identity even in a world of high tech, population shifts and population diversity. We still seem like the good old ..USA.. and for that I am proud to call ....DeKalb.. ..County.... my home.

Now is a time we are being tested. Now is a time we must come together and hold up our values and our heritage of living and working in the best country in the world. It is up to each of us to uphold the values of which we have lived our entire lives. Maybe it is time we stop complaining about losing anything and instead put all our effort toward becoming what we want to be, as an individual and as a country. We can speak out about the injustices we see and we can also take action. One action is to tell companies choosing to make their products in other countries that we will do without their products, until they are made here again. It is a small step but all steps are small. My wife and I check every label to see where a product is made, if it is not made in the ....USA.... we will try to find a similar product, that is. I know this will not work on all items but it will work on many. If we all do this, maybe the message to corporate ....America.... will resound with more authority. We obviously expect other countries to make things too but what we don’t expect is our American companies with an office in the US and expecting us to buy their products that keep officer paychecks coming… at the same time offer no employment to their own people. Also, maybe we should let Wall Street know it’s not ok to hoard the profits at the cost of US citizens. The list goes on and the element most honored in our county is what will ultimately make a positive difference. These things are honestly, integrity, moral values, determination, invention, persistence and community spirit.