The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) announced the resumption of a number of marketing programs delayed by the COVID-19 virus during the year, along with a selection of new targeted projects for the coming fiscal year during their recent annual meeting. Resuming production are the North Alabama Wedding Planner, the North Alabama Vacation Planner, and updates on eight trails brochures - North Alabama Barbecue Trail, North Alabama Scenic Motorcycle Routes, North Alabama Train Depots, North Alabama Waterfalls, North Alabama Craft Beer Trail, North Alabama Outdoors, and the North Alabama Wine Trail. Topping the list of new targeted projects is the Retire to North Alabama marketing program. Location photography and video, a new website, and a printed guide are all part of the program. “Alabama has been rated as one of the top 10 states to retire to and AMLA is building off of this to get the North Alabama message out,” AMLA President/CEO Tami Reist said. The web site, which may now be viewed via a link on the main NorthAlabama.org home page, includes a cost of living calculation for each of the 16 counties in the region, videos, and a search for finding a neighborhood based on specific interest. Another new digital program for the year is a Wine Trail app, which is also live on the NorthAlabama.org website. The unique app does not require a download and features realtime information on North Alabama’s wineries and events instantly delivered via text and email. As part of its advocacy program, AMLA will be adding a new section to their website that will provide information on all of North Alabama’s elected state representatives and senators. “Advocacy with elected officials on the importance of the tourism industry to the economic health and quality of life of North Alabama is critical,” explained Reist. “Surveys of our members showed a need to keep them informed on who their local state elected officials are and how to contact them was an important issue. This new component of our website will be the go-to site to easily access this information,” she said. Advocacy includes research and public education to lobbying elected officials and voter engagement. These activities are especially important when you want to make sure that underrepresented and vulnerable communities have a voice in decisions that affect them. Economic development is a mainstay of the North Alabama Program of Work, and AMLA will expand on its OPAL: A New Gem in North Alabama’s String of Pearls booklet built around the state Opportunity Zones Alabama (OPAL) incentives. The book includes individual maps of each county in the region showing the designated opportunity zone locations, detailed information about each zone, and how developers can take advantage of the program. For this marketing year, AMLA’s Tami Reist is serving on the Rural Recovery Accelerator Program committee, and has joined the Economic Development Association of Alabama. AMLA Member Services Representative Tina Lawler has launched a new internet program showcasing member destinations with unscripted videos posted on YouTube and Facebook. To refer a new member to AMLA for the publication, contact AMLA Member Services Rep Tina Lawler by calling 256-350-3500 or 800-648-5381. You may also email her at Tina@northalabama.org.