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Birmingham tourism spiking, bringing in more than $2 billion in 2021

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama’s tourism revenue is setting records, with tourist spending surpassing pre-pandemic levels and bringing in almost 20 billion dollars in 2021.

More than 28 million people visited Alabama last year and experts said a lot of that is linked to new facilities in Jefferson County, because the county brought in more than two billion dollars in revenue alone.

“We are looking at a very, very strong summer,” President and CEO of Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau John Oros said.

Birmingham is becoming a tourist hot spot, with visitors spending 45 percent more money last year than previous years.

“We look at hotel occupancy and trends and right now demand is up 10 percent across the board year to date,” Oros said.

Oros said it’s because the city is becoming a top tier college amateur sports destination.

The Regions golf tournament, The Honda Indy race sold out, the SEC baseball tournament coming in, and the one that everyone knows about is The World Games,” Oros said. “In 2021, Jefferson County generated 2.2 billion dollars in spending.”

Oros said with tourists spending all that money in the county, it’s saving residents in taxes.

“The incremental tax dollars that are generated as a result of those dollars that they are spending saves all our local residents,” he said. “It lowers tax burden for what we have to pay on local services. That’s the great value of having a thriving tourism industry.”

Oros said they’re gearing up for an even busier summer, with big events in the books.

“I think it will be more this year,” he said.

Across the whole state, tourists paid more than 1.1 billion dollars in taxes to state and local governments. State officials said those taxes saved families an average estimate of 631 dollars in taxes a year.

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