TUSCALOOSA, AL — A Tuscaloosa agency received state-wide accolades for its many contributions to the post pandemic rebound of travel and tourism in Tuscaloosa County.
Visit Tuscaloosa, the destination marketing organization charged with promoting Tuscaloosa, Northport, and Tuscaloosa County, won the Alabama Tourism Department’s Tourism Organization of the Year for 2023. The award was presented on Aug. 28, 2023 at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
Visitors spent $895 million in Tuscaloosa County during the 2022 calendar year, a 19.5% increase from the previous year. In the 12-month period ending in August, hotel revenue was up 10.5% over the previous year.
Kelsey Rush, president and CEO of Visit Tuscaloosa, attributed the award and recent tourism success to daily efforts by the agency and collaborating partners to enhance Tuscaloosa’s public image as a dynamic place to live, work, play, and visit.
“I am beyond excited for Visit Tuscaloosa to be recognized with this prestigious award. Our team is passionate about sharing the spirit of Tuscaloosa County and work day-in and day-out to create a harmony of quality of place for our visitors and quality of life for our residents,” said Rush. “I am proud of our team and their efforts that led to this award, as well as the partners that help make Tuscaloosa the community that it is.”
According to the Alabama Tourism website, this is the first time Visit Tuscaloosa has won the Tourism Organization of the Year award, which has been given annually since 1998. In 2007 and 2011, when the agency was known as Tuscaloosa CVB, it was recognized for the Tourism Partnership of the Year. Jasmine Rainey, who currently serves as Director of Tourism, was given the Rising Star award in 2019.
Visit Tuscaloosa’s diverse efforts include bringing association meetings and conferences to the area, facilitating large group tours, providing support to large gatherings such as reunions, recruiting athletic events, and developing new experiences that enhance the experience economy for both residents and visitors.
In 2022, Visit Tuscaloosa hosted or contributed to 94 events, up from 55 the previous year. In 2023 the agency has already hosted the inaugural Tuscaloosa Restaurant Week and will bring Tuscaloosa Oktoberfest back to downtown on October 28.
The agency also dedicates time and resources to raising Tuscaloosa’s visibility, appealing to leisure travelers, meeting and event planners, and potential economic investment, among others. Interested parties can learn more about Tuscaloosa County, its events, things to do and attractions by following Visit Tuscaloosa on social media or signing up for their newsletter at visittuscaloosa.com.