More record tourism numbers in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

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GULF SHORES, AL – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT) announced another strong year for tourism, the return of several national sporting events and the success of the Leave Only Footprints initiative during the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber’s First Friday Forum at LuLu’s in Gulf Shores. Each season in 2016 has seen sizable gains in lodging rentals with winter, December 2015 through February 2016, up 10.1 percent, spring, March through May, up 9.6 percent and summer, June through August, up 3.4 percent. Through August 2016, lodging revenue is up 5.7 percent and retail sales are up 6.7 percent more than the same period in 2015. “For the sixth consecutive year, we are forecasting another record-breaking year in tourism,” Herb Malone, president and CEO of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, said. “Gulf Shores and Orange Beach saw more than six million visitors in 2015 who spent roughly $4 billion dollars in our destination. These guests and these dollars significantly impact the livelihood of our residents.” Last year, GSOBT announced the Leave Only Footprints collaboration with the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, beach vendors and lodging properties. The goal of Leave Only Footprints is to keep the beaches pristine, safe and family-friendly. Since its implementation on January 1, 161.64 tons of material have been removed from the beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach; and the program’s ambassadors have interacted with more than 47,000 people. Last year, 173 tons of materials were picked up off the beach in Gulf Shores alone. “We welcome families from all over the world to Alabama’s beautiful beaches every year,” Malone said. “Leave Only Footprints is another way we hope to guarantee that their experiences here create lasting memories. “Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism would like to thank both of the cities, the chamber and our local vendors and lodging partners for helping to make this initiative a great success and one that will continue to positively impact the beach experience for our guests and residents.” In 2016, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission hosted 118 sporting events including several national championships. Those events contributed to nearly 100,000 sports-related room nights and $127 million in economic impact. “Currently, we are hosting the SEC Women’s Soccer Championship, and next week we will welcome 438 culinary teams for the World Food Championships,” Beth Gendler, vice president of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, said. “The Sports Commission has had phenomenal success in contracting events on the national scale. This success is due largely in part to the quality of our facilities, sponsors and partnership with cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as well as the hospitality of our locals and the beauty of this destination.” The Sports Commission hosted the Inaugural NCAA National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship in May 2016 at The Hangout in Gulf Shores. SportsTravel Magazine dubbed the championship the “Best New Event” for 2016. NCAA beach volleyball will return to Gulf Shores in May 2017. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach will also see the return of the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship, NAIA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field National Championship, and the SEC Women’s Soccer Conference Championship. For more information on this family beach destination, visit GulfShores.com and OrangeBeach.com. About Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism serves as the official destination marketing organization for the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in addition to the unincorporated area of Fort Morgan. To learn more about the whole different state of discovery on Alabama’s 32 miles of white-sand beaches, visit either GulfShores.com or OrangeBeach.com. This convention and visitors bureau is an accredited Destination Marketing Organization (2012-2016).