Huntsville mayor unsure what abortion law boycott would mean for tourism

Almost 3.5 million visitors came to Madison County alone in 2018 and spent $1 billion, but the progress could stop as states like Maryland and Colorado tell their workers to stop coming here.

Posted: May 20, 2019 7:08 PM
Updated: May 20, 2019 8:36 PM

On Monday, WAAY 31 took our questions about a potential boycott in Huntsville to Mayor Tommy Battle.

"Just don't know... Just don't know. I mean, it's way too early to tell," Battle said. 

Local tourism leaders say 2018 was a record year for North Alabama. Almost 3.5 million visitors came to Madison County alone and spent $1 billion, but the progress could stop as states like Maryland and Colorado tell their workers to stop coming here. 

"To see what it was 15-20 years ago versus what it is now brings me a joy, I'm proud of my city," Joey Galloway, manager of Piper and Leaf, said. 

Galloway is preparing to open his new store in Huntsville. He says hearing that tourism numbers have risen is promising.

"California, Washington, Colorado, all over the United States, we've had people come from all around the world coming here to visit," Galloway said. 

Galloway didn't want to talk about Alabama's new abortion law or calls on social media to boycott the state. WAAY 31 asked Mayor Battle if he's concerned over the backlash.

"It's really kind of special. We're in a very good position in North Alabama," Battle said.

The mayor says there is a demand for businesses to come to this area. He says the region is prepared to continue its growth for the next 5 years.

"We're very fortunate in this area. We have had so many businesses coming in here, that we are pretty much picking and choosing who we bring into the community, who brings a long-term economy to the area," Battle said.

Mayor Battle says the city hasn't gotten any calls about boycotts or businesses threatening to leave, but says it's too early to tell if tourism and business growth will take a hit.

"The future is something we'll have to watch and watch very closely," he said.

Hear what Governor Ivey had to say about tourism, here.

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