Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tourism Hierarchy by John Dersham

The DeKalb County Tourist Association is one of sixteen counties that comprise North Alabama. All sixteen counties are included in Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. We at the DeKalb County Tourist Association focus our efforts on bringing travelers to DeKalb County. Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association concentrates on bringing people to all of North Alabama and the State Department of Tourism and travel markets the entire state of Alabama. In addition we belong to the Southeast Tourism Society which works with 12 southeastern states marketing travel to the southeast. Then lastly there is the US Department of Travel and Tourism which promotes travel nationwide and internationally. All of these entities focus on getting people traveling and showing them where to go and what to do. We all tell our potential customers about the highlights of our areas, the key tourism draws and we inform them about lodging, food, shopping, attractions, museums and festivals etc.
Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association is an extremely valuable tool to all of us in the tourism industry in North Alabama. Since they are a larger size than any of the individual counties they have more buying power with magazines, newspapers and other forms of advertising, in turn, they offer co-op advertising to their members, giving us the opportunity to buy advertising at lower prices. They have an extensive brochure rack system spread all across North Alabama of which we as members get to have our brochures delivered across the region. AMLA communicates our press releases and other information on their extensive communication network. They include our things to do and see on their website. They offer educational seminars to members and they play a major role in helping tourism related issues be heard by city, county, and state elected officials. AMLA attends major travel shows in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Columbus, Nashville, Chattanooga and New Orleans all of which members may attend also to promote their businesses. I attend several of these each year to promote DeKalb County. The show is free to us as a member when we help work the show, so all we pay is travel expenses. AMLA is a top performing organization headed by Dana Lee Jennings. She is an extremely dynamic individual with a skilled team of tourism professionals whom help all of us improve tourism results in North Alabama. This is one of the reasons tourism is a shining star in a tough economy. North Alabama consistently outperforms the economy and outperforms tourism in other parts of our state. Next week AMLA will have a press conference to introduce one of its quarterly advertising plans. This one is called “Go Take a Hike” which focuses on the promotion of hiking in North Alabama. For more information about North Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association visit