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Gov. Kay Ivey awards $10 million in federal COVID-19 aid to market state’s tourism industry

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Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced the award of $10 million in federal coronavirus aid to support the state’s tourism industry through a marketing campaign. 

 “The tourism industry around the world has been one of the hardest hit during this ongoing health crisis, but in Alabama, we remain committed to remind those around our state and country that we are open for business. I am pleased to award these well-deserved dollars to an industry that has been hurting so that people can feel confident that they can be safe when visiting Alabama destinations,” Ivey said in a statement. “COVID-19 has taken a hit on our society, but that does not change the fact that Alabama has so much to offer. We look forward to helping our tourism industry grow, come back stronger and welcome visitors for years to come.”

According to the memorandum of understanding between the Alabama Department of Finance and the Alabama Tourism Department, the department will have until Dec. 15 to plan and execute a statewide marketing campaign promoting “safe travel social distancing activities at tourism offerings around Alabama (Attractions, restaurants, hotels, etc.)” 

According to the agreement, the funds are to be used to “communicate public health information and changes in tourism related business operations to out-of-area visitors” and to “communicate that Alabama is a destination for responsible travel and venues are taking necessary steps to keep visitors safe.” 

“Because Alabama’s normally robust tourism and travel industry has been severely impacted by the effects of the pandemic, we are grateful that Governor Kay Ivey has earmarked an allocation that will allow the Alabama Tourism Department to generate a marketing campaign aimed at potential guests from outside the state,” Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell said in a statement. “The department will work with tourism professionals in all 67 counties and feature their top assets to bring visitors back.”

While the number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been in decline in recent weeks, coinciding with Ivey’s statewide mask order, Alabama remains ninth in the total number of active cases, with 82,181.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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