MONTGOMERY’S RECORD-BREAKING TOURISM NUMBERS FOR 2019 SET THE STAGE FOR THE FUTURE.
2019 TOURISM: TOTAL REVENUE = $1.025 BILLION, AN 83% INCREASE IN THE PAST 10 YEARS
Recently, the Alabama Tourism Department conducted its annual report, revealing that MONTGOMERY HAD EXPERIENCED RECORD-BREAKING TOURISM GROWTH FOR 2019, WITH $1.025 BILLION IN TOTAL REVENUE. This marked the first time in Montgomery’s history that tourism growth for the city topped the billion-dollar mark, representing a 5.6 percent increase over 2018, a 22 percent increase in the past two years and an 83 percent increase in the past 10 years. This increase in spending directly impacted the city’s workforce, as VISITORS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR 14,428 JOBS IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY, AN 18 PERCENT INCREASE IN THE PAST TWO YEARS. With spending on hotels, restaurants, shopping and transportation significantly increasing, these numbers confirm that Montgomery is and continues to be an economic powerhouse for the state tourism industry.
OUR PAST - WHERE WE’VE BEEN
Established in 1819 and situated on the banks of the Alabama River, Montgomery’s history is deeply rooted in the social and economic conversations that are currently as compelling and vital as ever. A stroll down our historic streets with their historic markers and sites shows that this city has transformed from the Cradle of the Confederacy to the Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement in less than a century and continues today to face hard and painful issues head on, initiating unprecedented change for the better.
TODAY, THIS VIBRANT RIVER TOWN IS CHANGING AGAIN AND EXPERIENCING A RESURGENCE LIKE NEVER BEFORE. With a revitalized downtown and new and developing cultural attractions and experiences, Montgomery has once again established itself as a landmark Southern destination and cultural hot spot, inspiring all who visit to truly believe in the city’s message that “together, we can be the change.”
THE PRESENT - WHERE WE ARE
As 2020 began, Montgomery looked ahead with hope, expecting to once again shatter records in tourism and economic growth. Unfortunately, tourism in the region, country and world quickly halted due to the global coronavirus pandemic, resulting in multi-million-dollar revenue losses for the city. These losses drive home the impact of this vital sector: In a normal year, these lost dollars lighten the tax burden on citizens and help to offset the cost of city services and amenities; these dollars sustain small businesses like restaurants and shops and cultural institutions that are treasured by those of us who call Montgomery home. These dollars keep thousands employed in our city.
However, this is not the first time that Montgomery has faced trials, and the people of this town are resilient. While COVID-19 is currently impacting the tourism industry, there is every reason to believe that better days await. Travel is a force that brings us together and transforms our lives for the better and moving forward, tourism in Montgomery will continue to be a powerful component of the city’s resurgence. Travel industry professionals project that as normal travel resumes, travelers will seek “bucket list” travel experiences that are more meaningful and that align with their own personal values.
For 200 years, Montgomery has played a pivotal role in America’s history and now, WE OFFER VISITORS AN ENLIGHTENED PERSPECTIVE OF OUR PAST, OUR FUTURE AND OUR CULTURE OF CHANGE. No doubt Montgomery will be at the top of many travelers’ lists because of this.
OUR FUTURE - WHERE WE’RE HEADED
As Montgomery businesses slowly begin to reopen, we understand that it will take time to navigate new guidelines and restrictions and to ultimately discover a “new normal.” In the meantime, the Chamber’s Convention and Visitor Bureau sales and marketing team is already hard at work learning how our venues and hotels can address the needs of meeting and event planners as conventions and gatherings take on smaller, more physically distant forms. The team is pursuing niche groups like corporate diversity and inclusion trainings that are perfectly suited to Montgomery. And it’s launching a phased public relations and marketing campaign that highlights the way our city inspires change for the better.
At its core, travel inspires innovation and progress that can lead to a healthier, happier and more productive lifestyle.
While the demand for travel is still regaining momentum, WE ENCOURAGE MONTGOMERY RESIDENTS TO COME TOGETHER AND TO REDISCOVER THEIR OWN BACKYARD. Whether shopping local, dining at one of our restaurants, visiting one of our renowned cultural experiences or even booking a “staycation” at one of our beautiful downtown hotels, we can make a difference for the businesses in this sector.
STAYCATION #MYMGM 2020: FOUR DAYS OF #MYMGM FUN
TAKE A DAY OR A LONG WEEKEND TO EXPERIENCE MONTGOMERY THROUGH A VISITOR’S EYES.
CAPITOL OYSTER BAR Enjoy a classic Montgomery lunch on this spot’s deck overlooking the river.
THE HANK WILLIAMS MUSEUM Learn about the life and times of Montgomery’s own troubadour.
DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR: ROSA PARKS STATUE, DEXTER AVENUE AND RIVERFRONT PARK Get reacquainted with these familiar streets on foot.
ALABAMA STATE CAPITOL, OLD ALABAMA TOWN AND MUSEUM OF ALABAMA Get grounded in your local story with a visit to these hallowed halls of history.
1977 BOOKS OR READ HERRING BOOKSTORE Turn the page with a literary treasure from these fascinating book retailers and community spaces.
TOWER TAPROOM, COMMON BOND BREWERY OR GOAT HAUS BIERGARTEN Grab a pint of local brew and a bite at these downtown brew-centric bars.
CENTRAL OR THE HOUSE AT THE RENAISSANCE Cap off day one with dinner at one of these spots offering locally inspired menus
PREVAIL UNION Start the day with a cup of joe plus smiles and shared optimism at this hub beloved by Montgomery’s caffeinated creatives.
THE LEGACY MUSEUM Discover why this experience may be the most essential and timely of any in America today.
PANNIE_GEORGE’S KITCHEN OR CHRIS’ HOTDOGS Whether you’re craving comfort or charm, you’ll get both with these great lunch spots.
THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE Acclaimed internationally as one of the most moving and important experiences of our time, you will be forever changed by this powerful experience.
TOUR THE ROSA PARKS LIBRARY AND MUSEUM You’ll learn Rosa Parks’ inspiring personal story, plus how communities in Montgomery worked together to change the world.
TASTE Step o_ the sidewalk and into this cozy wine bar for tasty small plates, wine flights and Montgomery-themed cocktails.
AVIATOR/ THE ALLEY/COMMERCE BEERWORKS A nightlife triple play awaits in these interconnected hotspots in the heart of downtown.
CAHAWBA HOUSE A favorite of visitor and locals alike, this eatery’s biscuits, fresh local preserves and cinnamon beignets are the perfect foundation for a day of exploring Montgomery.
DEXTER AVENUE KING MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH AND PARSONAGE Raise your spirits and your voice (in song) on a heartfelt tour of this treasured church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began his career as a young pastor and became a Civil Rights hero.
F. SCOTT & ZELDA FITZGERALD MUSEUM & AIRBNB Remember the romance, ambition and creativity of this literary power couple and darlings of the Jazz Age as you stroll through the Fitzgerald’s former home.
DERK’S FILET & VINE OR VINTAGE CAFÉ Whether you want a filling meat and three or a light and inspired plate, these neighboring cafes will fuel you up for an afternoon of exploring.
FREEDOM RIDES MUSEUM This historic bus station bore witness to a horrific moment in Montgomery history. View the powerful timeline on the exterior and be sure to step inside to delve into the stories of the freedom riders who worked to end segregation on interstate buses.
SOUTHERN ART & MAKERS COLLECTIVE No staycation is complete without a souvenir or two. Stop by this quirky shop for locally made art and goods.
LA JOLLA OR CITY GRILL From a flirty and fizzy cocktail to a hearty entrée, La Jolla and City Grill deliver both with class and style every time.
BREAKFAST AT BARBARA GAILS As every good traveler knows, when you have to bring cash and wait in line, it’s going to be so worth it! This neighborhood staple, located right on the Selma to Montgomery historic trail, serves home-cooked goodness.
CIVIL RIGHTS MEMORIAL AND CENTER Take a moment to consider how the fight for equal rights continues, and even pledge your name to continue the fight.
FRANK M. JOHNSON JR. FEDERAL BUILDING AND UNITED STATES COURTHOUSE Learn about the work of Frank M. Johnson and the pivotal civil rights cases he decided from his courtroom here in Montgomery.
DREAMLAND BBQ OR BIBB STREET PIZZA Find legendary food at both of these lunch spots, from a tender rack of ribs to a giant slice of ‘za.
MONTGOMERY MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS & ALABAMA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL Round out the day with a ramble through the museum's sculpture garden or the Shakespeare Garden, both set in a 300-acre cultural wonderland.
VINTAGE YEAR OR CORK & CLEAVER Inspired dishes, perfectly crafted cocktails and fashionable patios make these perfect places to relive your staycation adventures.
KRU OR THE TIPPING POINT Relax and take in the eclectic vibes at these friendly neighborhood bars.