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Advocacy is defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others.

Many elected officials don’t understand that tourism doesn’t just happen. They need to be educated that an effective tourism program requires strong research, creative marketing and targeted outreach. Tourism has frequently been an easy target for budget cuts and criticisms of its economic importance, research and the need for public funding. These attacks are often unexpected. The best way for tourism community leaders to avoid a potential cut to their programs is to develop an advocacy strategy and proactively promote the positive impacts on their community. Waiting until you are facing a crisis is often too late. That is why AMLA is committed to advocating the voice of tourism to our elected officials as an ongoing effort.

How to Reach the Members of the Alabama Senate & House Tourism Committees

All the details you need to call, write or email Alabama Representatives and Senators serving on the tourism committees.

How to Reach the United States Congressional Delegation from Alabama

Traveling to Washington D.C. for STS Congressional Summit on Travel & Tourism

Southeast Tourism Society (STS) members come together in Washington D.C. and meet with their elected officials to discuss legislation that could positively or negatively impact their destinations and visitors. Prior to these meetings, STS provides attendees with a list of talking points and topic-related guest speakers, so attendees have all the tools they need for a successful visit with their elected officials. AMLA President & CEO Tami Reist and members of the AMLA board attend this Summit every year to meet with the Alabama delegation on matters of importance to the tourism and hospitality industry. More information on STS is available here.

Partner with Alabama Tourism Partnership

AMLA partners with the Alabama Tourism Partnership (ATP) to take advantage of every opportunity to meet and become better acquainted with our state official in Montgomery. The annual Legislative Tourism Bash is one of the ways that AMLA works with the ATP to promote tourism legislative issues to state officials.

Staying Connected with Local Government

AMLA takes advantage of every opportunity to meet and become better acquainted with your local officials. Opportunities that develop through professional meetings or local civic or charitable organizations are a great way to educate them about tourism issues. AMLA also partners with the Alabama League of Municipalities and the Association of County Commissions of Alabama and attends their annual conferences.

OPAL – North Alabama Opportunity Zones

AMLA recognizes the quality of work that has been done in economic development throughout the North Alabama region.  Everyone is working hard, but as we all know, economic development is a marathon, with more opportunities for our region to seek and to capitalize on. We are working with local communities to draw tourism business to Opportunity Zones in North Alabama.

What are Opportunity Zones? The Opportunity Zones program is an alternative economic development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to foster private-sector investments in low-income rural and urban areas. The areas eligible for submission as Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent and a median family income of less than 80 percent of the statewide or area median income. Census tracts are statistical subdivisions of a county established by the U.S. Census Bureau. Each tract averages between 1,200 and 8,000 in population and the nominated tracts vary in size from 199 acres to 235,352 acres. OPAL is another tool we can use to help drive more economic development to the region and I hope you will join AMLA and take advantage of any opportunities that may arise. 

OPAL – A New Gem in North Alabama’s String of Pearls gives you a basic overview of Alabama’s Opportunity Zone program and how it is being implemented in Alabama. The program fosters private-sector investments in low-income rural and urban areas and is a win-win for investors and for the community. Download the booklet and find the Opportunity Zone located in your county.

Advocacy Amplified

ADVOCACY AMPLIFIED is an effort to provide you, our tourism community leaders, with the framework and ideas to develop your own advocacy strategy and ensure your voice resonates with elected officials. Provided by the Southeast Tourism Society, a copy may be downloaded here.

Partnering with Tennessee River Valley Stewardship Council & TVA

AMLA takes advantage of every opportunity to partner with neighboring states to promote North Alabama. In 2016, AMLA joined forces with the Tennessee River Valley Stewardship Council (TRVSC) and TVA to announce the Tennessee River Valley project as a multi-disciplinary, multi-state project of individuals, businesses, public agencies, non-profits and tourism agencies that are invested in the promotion of heritage, culture, outdoor recreation and conservation activities in the Tennessee River Valley watershed. The primary marketing program of the TRVSC is the Tennessee River Valley Geotourism Interactive Mapguide with National Geographic Maps. The MapGuide is designed to showcase to national and international audiences the natural, cultural and historic attractions that define the Tennessee River Valley region. It features points of interest nominated by locals, including historic, cultural and natural landmarks; music and arts festivals; outdoor adventures; and more. Check out the video here.