Tourists in Alabama spent $1 billion more in 2023 than in the previous record year, reaching a new record spending high of $23.5 billion, Gov. Key Ivey recently announced.

More than 28.8 million guests, up 200,000 from the previous year, enjoyed trips to the state, the governor said. That record spending by tourists helped create an estimated 245,500 jobs, she said. Every $140,279 of expenditures in the travel industry creates one new direct job, the governor said. It was the fourth time in the past five years that tourist spending increased in Alabama. 

The state’s travel industry expenditures represent 8.3 percent of Alabama’s overall production in 2023, with the industry being responsible for generating total impact earnings exceeding $7.7 billion, including $4.3 billion in direct earnings. The figures are from a study conducted for the Alabama Tourism Department to estimate the economic impact of the state’s travel and tourism industry. 

Gov. Ivey said that “Alabama continued its streak of remarkable success in the tourism and travel industry,” marking yet another banner year. “Alabama's tourism industry remained strong. Across all corners of the state, there was a notable increase in tourism-related benefits, demonstrating the industry's capacity to thrive even amidst economic fluctuations.”

The governor said, “What sets Alabama apart as a prime destination is its wealth of natural wonders, cultural treasures, and enriching experiences awaiting exploration. From the scenic beauty of its landscapes to the richness of its cultural heritage, Alabama offers visitors an array of unforgettable experiences that leave a lasting impression.”

Economist Dr. Keivan Deravi, who conducted the study, said that the state’s eating and drinking establishments accounted for half of the tourism-related jobs in 2023. The food industry created 53 percent of the positions, with overnight accommodations providing 21 percent, his study revealed. Entertainment provided 12 percent of jobs and general retail contributed 7 percent, he said. 

Deravi said that the travel industry has a direct impact on the state’s total economy. State law requires that 75 percent of the 4 percent state lodging tax paid by all hotel guests goes directly into the state General Fund that the Alabama Legislature spends for services to all residents. The $86.4 million of the Legislature’s portion of the lodgings tax benefits all residents of the state, the economist said. Without those funds from tourism, each household in Alabama would have had to pay an additional $707 in taxes just to maintain current service levels. One cent of the state tax funds the Alabama Tourism Department, he said. 

Locally, total visitor expenditures are $800,596,865 which is up 7% over 2022. Food and beverage continues to be the highest expense at 27% of the total with lodging at 14% and retail and entertainment at 10% each.

The amount spent in 2023 was more than double what travelers spent a decade ago in 2013, according to the report. For more information on visiting Alabama, visit www.Alabama.Travel



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