Welcome Center staff and tourism industry professionals from across the state will convene for the Alabama Tourism Department’s Welcome Center Retreat in Selma from Sunday, Oct. 24 to Tuesday, Oct. 26.
An annual event, the Retreat is meant to educate front-line employees from all eight state-owned and operated visitor centers on what there is to see and do in various areas of the state. Experiencing first-hand the tourism offerings available in Alabama will give attendees the tools to encourage visitors to stay longer in, and experience more of, Sweet Home Alabama.
“Securing this retreat is a major win for Selma and Dallas County,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Smedley. “We will be hosting more than 50 tourism professionals who staff our state’s eight Welcome Centers. They assist more than six-million visitors on an annual basis, and these men and women are often the first face encountered by travelers to Alabama. Now they will be able to greet visitors with more first-hand, experiential knowledge of our incredible community.”
The Retreat in the Queen City of the Black Belt will feature educational programs, a tourism trade show, guided tours of Selma’s historic sites and the growing downtown arts scene. Opening night will feature a Flavors of Selma and Beyond welcoming dinner held at Gallery 905 Art Studio on Sunday evening.
“We have been looking forward to Selma hosting our welcome center staffs,” noted Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell. “With all of the new developments and the restored hotel reopened, the story of historic Selma is more important for tourists than ever.”
Guided tours during the retreat will focus on Selma’s rich Civil Rights history and will include Brown Chapel AME Church, The Jackson Home, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Edmund Pettus Bridge, National Voting Rights Museum and the Selma to Montgomery Interpretive Trail Center. Other sites include the Bridge Tender’s House, Live Oak Cemetery, Orrville Farmers Market and Charlie Lucas’ Tin Man Studio.
“The City of Selma is excited to host the Alabama Welcome Center Retreat,” said Selma Mayor James Perkins. “This retreat will provide new and innovative ways to attract tourists to our beloved city. We are grateful for this great opportunity.”