Major tourism meeting held in Russellville
The Alabama Mountain Lakes Association announced their new project during their quarterly council meeting held yesterday at the A.W. Todd Centre in Russellville.
President Dana Lee Jennings announced their partnership with the Alabama Travel Council to form the Alabama Wine Trail. There will be at least nine vineyards in the trail, and AMLA will be contacting a few vineyards in south Alabama about being added to the list.
Jennings said several AMLA members visited six different states that have successful wine trails as tourist attractions.
"Wine Trails are what is called a niche market meaning that not all tourists will visit the vineyards," Jennings said.
She added that the addition of the Wine Trail is in response to numerous phone calls from tourists asking about different wineries and vineyards in Alabama.
"We have received phone calls for two years from tourists asking about vineyards in Alabama because they are coming through on their way to beach or are in town for business," Jennings said.
She added that the niche market appeals to those in the mid to upper income levels, and that the vineyards will not only have the wine for sale but will also offer fresh baked breads and specialty cheeses to go with their wine.
Jennings said the kick off of the Alabama Wine Trail will be held in February at a reception for Alabama legislators in Montgomery so that they can become familiar with the wine, and foods produced here in the state.
State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow was the guest speaker at the meeting, and he talked about the importance of tourism to the state.
"I have always been a believer that tourism brings in money from other states and that money multiplies very quickly." Morrow said. "And that's clean money."
Morrow also talked about his successes and failures for the tourism industry. He said that the tourism bill is one of the failures, but that he has hopes that the bill will be reintroduced this year and will one day be passed into law.
"You have to understand that bills are introduced to the legislature so that they can be passed in the future," Morrow said. "No controversial bill can be passed quickly in the legislature."
During the meeting, several special awards were given out, and Russellville's own Cecil Langcuster was given the AMLA's Workhorse Award for his hard work and dedication to the association.
"Cecil is like a good work horse," Jennings said during the presentation. "If you give him a job, all you have to do is step back and watch him go to work."