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Officials talk about tourism in Alabama

Officials talk about tourism in Alabama

Posted: May 20, 2019 4:52 PM
Updated: May 20, 2019 4:52 PM

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this afternoon we have team coverage. waay 31's steven dilsizian is live in huntsville where local leaders talked about tourism in the rocket city. but first - waay 31's breken terry is live in montgomery where she took her questions straight to the governor herself.. breken? i am here in the state capital where tourism officials said they don't think the tourism industry in the state will suffer because of the backlash from the abortion law. well the great thing is the entire state is doing well. huntsville is up 10%. according to alabama tourism director lee sentell tourists spent a billion dollars more in alabama last year, than in 2017. it's an 8.5 percent increase. sentell- people like coming here because it's relaxing. but a quick search of "alabama tourism" on twitter finds people calling to boycott everything in the state, from concerts to conventions to vacations. even alabama football, because of the controversial law. sentell stood next to governor kay ivey, when we asked this question. me: governor, do you think alabama's human life protection act will effect tourism because there are a lot of people on social media saying to boycott alabama and to leave alabama. sentell: let me answer that. sentell said people come to alabama for a variety of reasons. he would never answer our specific question. sentell- i think we will continue to have a very strong tourism product. people are calling for boycotts in other states, including georgia, that recently passed abortion laws. but sentell and ivey stood firm in their belief the abortion law won't affect tourism in alabama. ivey- so truly alabama has a lot of different variety of types of things to visit and enjoy and our visitors will continue to come. some groups have posted the number to alabama tourism on social media ... telling people to call. we tried calling the montgomery office to see if they're getting calls. we are waiting to hear back from them the state says it brought in more than five billion dollars from tourism last year, and says we're on track to beat that this year. time will tell if people boycott the state this summer. several states are coming out against the alabama abortion law. maryland is the latest to question its relationship with the state.. the state comptroller is asking for a review of alabama, as it relates to the state retirement and pension system. he wants to make sure no investments are made here ... and he's asking system employees not to travel to alabama. colorado's secretary of state is forbidding her employees to spend state money doing business in alabama. two hollywood titans say they will boycott georgia - after they finish their current project. director ron howard and producer brian glazer say they will boycott in 2020, if the law goes into effect. but they'll move ahead with their plans to make the film "hillbilly elegy" in georgia. the georgia law bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected -- which can be as early as six weeks. mayor tommy battle says it's just too soon to tell if any boycotts will hurt tourism in huntsville. the city announced local results of a tourism study just hours ago. waay31's steven dilsizian joins us live from constitution hall park in downtown. steven? 2018 was a great year for tourism for north alabama.... bringing in two million more dollars from the year before. and madison county is a big reason why. in 2018, nearly three and a half million visitors came to madison county... spending more than a billion dollars. the tourism industry employs more than 35- thousand people in north alabama. i asked huntsville mayor battle if he's concerned all this growth will take a turn, because of the abortion law. way too early to tell...that's not necessarily my story to tell, today we celebrate what we have done with tourism in this area... the future.... is something we'll have to watch and watch very closely i specifically asked mayor battle if the city has received calls about boycotts, or from businesses saying they plan to leave because of the law. he told me no ... and said he believes that's having more of an impact in montgomery. reporting live in hsv -- sd -- waay31 news.
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