A Special Place in the State Where Blacks and Gúns Mean Big Business

Alabama's Black Belt: A Blossoming Haven for Tourism

A Special Place in the State Where Blacks and Gúns Mean Big Business

{TheChronicle.cc} –Alabama’s Black Belt region, encompassing 23 counties across the central and southern parts of the state, is transforming its image. Traditionally known for its challenges, the area is now flourishing as a premier destination for hunting, fishing, and cultural tourism, according to a new report by the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA).

The report, titled “The Economic Impact of Tourism in Alabama’s Black Belt Region,” highlights an impressive annual economic impact of $3.8 billion in 2023, supporting 45,500 jobs. This marks a significant 9% growth compared to 2022, showcasing the region’s rising allure.

A major draw for tourists is the abundant hunting and fishing opportunities, contributing $1.7 billion, or 45%, of the region’s total tourism revenue. Additionally, the Black Belt’s rich history and cultural heritage are increasingly attracting visitors.

Governor Kay Ivey, who hails from the heart of the Black Belt in Wilcox County, expressed her enthusiasm: “Tourism is a key factor in Alabama’s growing economy. This region has so much to offer—from outdoor recreation to cultural events and historic sites. I’m thrilled to see the tourism industry in the Black Belt thrive.”

The Black Belt’s tourism boom mirrors the state’s overall growth. Alabama’s tourism expenditures reached $23.5 billion in 2023, with 28.8 million visitors, up from 28.6 million in 2022, according to the Alabama Tourism Department.

The positive trend spans all 23 Black Belt counties, with each experiencing growth since the pandemic began in 2020. Mayor Dexter McLendon of Greenville, a member of the ALBBAA board, noted the influx of visitors from diverse locations and the substantial economic benefits they bring to the region.

Montgomery County, home to the largest city in the Black Belt, led the region with a $1.2 billion economic impact, accounting for 32% of the area’s tourism activity. Tuscaloosa County followed with $999.6 million, and Lee County contributed $800.6 million.

The Black Belt’s counties include Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, and Wilcox.

The Black Belt’s resurgence as a tourism hotspot underscores the region’s vibrant offerings and potential for continued growth, turning it into a beacon of hope and opportunity in Alabama.