Travelers spent $972 million and were responsible for 13,817 jobs last year in Montgomery County, according to a report conducted for the Alabama Tourism Department by Montgomery economist Dr. Keivan Deravi. That figure represents a 15.5 percent increase in traveler spending on hotels, restaurants, shopping and transportation from 2017, the largest ever increase in traveler spending of any major Alabama county.
The report also shows that Montgomery County leads major Alabama metros in total employment growth in the hospitality industry, as well as in travel related earnings and expenditures.
Year to date, the City of Montgomery reports approximately 24,000 more room nights than from January through April of 2018.
“This is the first time that I remember any of the largest counties in the state achieving a 15 percent increase in one year.” said Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell. “I think this demonstrates an increased interest in Civil Rights landmarks and especially the amazing response to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Museum and Memorial.”
“Tourism is a powerful part of the Chamber’s fully integrated approach to economic development, shares Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Willie Durham. “The thousands of new visitors to Montgomery not only support our economy through their spending while here, but they also return with an enlightened perspective on our city – more likely to consider a return trip, recommend it to friends or even consider relocation of their home or business in the future.”
The Alabama Tourism Department also reported that the state’s travel industry grew by more than $1 billion in 2018 to a record of $15.5 billion in expenditures, and increased jobs by 11,984 to some 198,890 employees. The industry grew by 8.5% and attracted more than one million additional visitors to top 27 million guests for the first time.
The tourism industry likewise generates millions of dollars for state and local government. Responsible for $681 million in state taxes and an additional $273 million in local revenue for a total of $954 million, the hospitality industry contributed to an increase of 8.5 percent over the previous year, according to the study. In addition, around $76 million was generated in state lodgings taxes, of which 75 percent benefits the State General Fund.
Dr. Deravi says that those taxes alone saved each household in Alabama from paying $507 in additional taxes to maintain current service levels.
For more information about Montgomery, visit www.visitingmontgomery.com.