August 8, 2008

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Tourism Department

2008 Alabama Tourism Award Winners


August 7, 2008


Montgomery, Ala.Thirteen tourism organizations, leaders and events will be honored Tuesday night, August 12 at the closing event of the three-day Alabama Governor's Conference on Tourism in Hoover.


The conference brings together industry representatives for professional development and meetings to discuss tourism in the state beginning Sunday, August 10 and ending Tuesday afternoon on August 12. Tourism industry professionals, Mayors and legislative dignitaries throughout the state will attend the conference.


The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile is named the Attraction of the Year; the Event of the Year Award goes to the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in Gadsden for its “Art of Competition” exhibit; and the Brundidge Historical Society’s original folklife play, “Come Home, It’s Suppertime,” is honored with the Governor’s Tourism Award.


Individuals recognized for outstanding achievements in the state’s tourism industry include Southern Living Vice President and Editor-in-Chief John Alex Floyd Jr. who is honored with the Media Advocate Award; U.S. Representative Artur Davis is presented with the Government Advocate Award;  the Tourism Employee of the Year is Charles Winters, Vice President of Marketing, Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Executive of the Year is Gene Brett, Brett-Robinson Realty, Gulf Shores/Orange Beach; and the Alabama Tourism Department Employee of the Year award goes to Art Director Tommy Cauthen. Chalmus Weathers (posthumous) is inducted into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame. Weathers was the co-founder of the Boaz Chamber of Commerce and he was instrumental in bringing the shopping outlet concept to Boaz.


The 2008 Organization of the Year is presented to the Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Welcome Center of the Year goes to the Sumter Welcome Center in Cuba; The Montgomery Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau receives the Partnership Award; and the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro is honored with the Director’s Award.


Governor and Mrs. Bob Riley are scheduled to attend the awards gala at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover.


The awards were first presented in 1998 and honor outstanding achievements in the state’s tourism industry. Each award winner is recognized as a key player in making tourism a strong economic force. Tourism contributed $9.3 billion to Alabama’s economy in 2007 and supported 170,000 jobs statewide. An estimated 22.4 million people visited the state last year.



  • For more information, visit
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here