Tourism Programs and Opportunities

Please click on the following links to learn more about ECDI-supported tourism programs and opportunities available to communities throughout rural Alabama.

Alabama Agritourism Trail
The goal of the Alabama Agri-tourism Trail is to provide added revenues for farmers and to increase tourism attractions for small communities by focusing on both agricultural and natural resources opportunities.

Alabama Scenic Byways Program
The Alabama Scenic Byway Program seeks to identify, preserve, protect and enhance scenic, historic, natural, recreational, cultural and archaeological resources; enhance recreation; and, promote economic development through tourism and education in the history, culture and natural beauty of Alabama.

Alabama Scenic River Trail
The Alabama Scenic River Trail is the longest river trail in the country and highlights Alabama’s unique assortment of history and nature. The trail begins at the Alabama-Georgia border at the Weiss Dam and follows seven rivers and two creeks through a wide variety of types of paddling and scenery. After passing through the Delta region (the second largest delta in the US), the route follows the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, ending at historic Ft. Morgan. The mission of the trail is to “introduce people to the hidden beauty of the State of Alabama, exploring a world that can be seen only from the water."

Alabama-Mississippi Rural Tourism Conference
Recognizing that tourism is a vital part of a community’s economic development, the Alabama-Mississippi Rural Tourism Conference is a collaborative effort focused on assisting smaller communities in bolstering tourism. Dynamic speakers present innovative ideas and relevant information that attendees find useful in facing the unique challenges of promoting rural tourism with limited budgets. While this annual conference is hosted alternately between Alabama and Mississippi, anyone associated with or interested in the rural tourism industry is invited to attend.

Capacity-Building Assistance Available In:
Promotion of tourism as economic development, tourism assessments, marketing strategies, bed and breakfast development, and tourism organizational development. To learn more about this training, please contact ECDI Tourism Specialist, Dr. Tom Chesnutt.

National Heritage Areas
A National Heritage Area is a place designated by Congress to have natural, cultural, historic, and recreational resources that have had a significant influence on the history of the United States. By being named a National Heritage Area, the National Park Service could provide funding to support publications and marketing for tourism, economic development, historic preservation, and other related opportunities. There are currently 37 National Heritage Areas in the US, none of which are in Alabama. ECDI has provided direction and / or assistance to groups in Alabama recently working for this designation: Muscle Shoals, Chattahoochee Trace, and the Black Belt.

Outdoor Alabama Partnership
The Outdoor Alabama Partnership is a consortium of organizations and agencies interested in outdoor recreation in Alabama. This consortium was established to: promote existing outdoor recreation opportunities to both travelers and residents; assist communities in developing nature- and outdoor-based tourism opportunities, particularly in rural areas; and assist local community development by providing assistance in planning and developing outdoor recreation activities.

Quality Service and Hospitality Training
In providing tourism experiences to visitors in Alabama communities, quality service is, in reality, a community's number one product. Training the hospitality workforce to provide quality service is an important, ongoing task complicated by a high turnover rate. Extension has developed a curriculum and training materials to assist in this effort. The following hospitality training materials are available through ECDI: a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, and a 15-minute DVD entitled "How to Treat the Customer." To learn more about this training, please contact ECDI Tourism Specialist, Dr. Tom Chesnutt.

RiverWay South
RiverWay South works to preserve, protect and promote the unique heritage of communities in three states within the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint (ACF) watershed. This partnership works with counties in the ACF watershed to stimulate economies through new product initiatives, cultural heritage tourism, and marketing ecologically-sustainable tourism.

Last Updated: May 20, 2014