Tourism to play a role and boosting Tuscaloosa’s economy from COVID-19 losses

Tuscaloosa banking on tourism

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The city of Tuscaloosa could start hosting some sporting events less than a month from now. It’s just one way tourism dollars could start putting money back into the city.

‘"It’s survive, recover, develop. We’re getting into the recovery part now,” according to Don Staley, President of Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports. Staley said promoting Tuscaloosa as a destination for tourists is more important now than before. “I’m sending my team down there and we’re selling, selling, selling bring your events to Tuscaloosa,” Staley continued.

Coronavirus forced many events to be postponed and or cancelled. There’s an emphasis in finding events the city could host that would benefit Tuscaloosa’s economy now that the city has reopened.

“There’s a little more emphasis placed on a quick recovery, whether it’s from out of town travel or local folks that come to the amphitheater, they’re going to eat in our restaurants, they’re going to shop in our stores,” he added.

Tourism officials know some travelers may still be hesitant to fly. They’re strategy now includes attracting events for folks who may be willing come to Tuscaloosa within a three to five hour drive. It’s not yet known how many fans will be allowed inside Bryant Denny Stadium for University of Alabama football games. For now, personnel at Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports remain focused on getting baseball and softball tournaments off successfully until they can bring in more events and or conferences.

“Anything and everything, whether it’s a lawn mower racing event that could bring 250 people to town or it’s a 1200 person conference,” Staley concluded.

That first ball tournament could take place at one of several PARA ballparks in Tuscaloosa by late June. The first major conference that Tuscaloosa will host since the coronavirus pandemic is in August.

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