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Alabama’s 2009 Attraction of the Year…NOT!

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Named Attraction of the Year 

August 31, 2009

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has been named 2009 Attraction of the Year by the Alabama Tourism Department. The black-tie awards ceremony will take place Tuesday, September 1 at the Marriot Grand Hotel in Point Clear. 

Thousands visit the state of the art, multi-media facility that houses exhibitions of historical events from post-World-War I segregation to present day racial progress. The permanent exhibition of the institution is a self-directed journey which features galleries that look at various aspects of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Multiple theatres feature videos that recount many of the historical events and an interactive media gallery gives visitors a sense of the international scope of the movement. The institute houses a burned-out bus from the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the actual door of the jail cell where Dr. Martin Luther King wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” 

Tourism leaders and hospitality representatives throughout the state along with First Lady Patsy Riley will attend the awards banquet. 

Criteria for the Attraction of the Year award include outstanding economic impact statistics, quality and effectiveness of marketing efforts, additions and/or improvements designed to increase appeal to tourists, increased attendance and the enhancement of local, regional or state image as a tourist destination.

 The Attraction of the Year award is among 13 for 2009 that comprise the Alabama tourism awards. 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 billion to Alabama’s economy in 2008 and supported 170,000 jobs statewide. More than 22 million visited the state last year. 

The Alabama Tourism Department coordinates the awards program. Other winners are as follows:

  • ·         Government Advocate Award—Representative Richard Lindsey, 39th Congressional District.
  • ·         Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame—Tony Rayne; founder and past president of Abbeville Chamber  of Commerce.
  • ·         Media Advocate Award—Raycom Media.
  • ·         Governor’s Tourism Award—J. Gary Ellis, President of Compass Marketing, Inc., Gulf Shores.
  • ·         Organization of the Year—Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association.
  • ·         Event of the Year—BayFest, Mobile.
  • ·         Tourism Executive of the Year—Michael Gunn, VP of Convention Sales, Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau.
  • ·         Tourism Employee of the Year—Jennifer Moore, Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
  • ·         Partnership Award—Alabama Barbeque Association.
  • ·         Welcome Center of the Year—Sumter Welcome Center.
  • ·         *Theme Campaign— Alabama Scenic River Trail.
  • ·         *Rising Star Award—Kalleigh Drake, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • *— denotes new award for 2009.
  • ###

The Birmingham Zoo, Inc., a local non-profit, has marketed the zoo as ‘Alabama’s #1 Tourist Attraction’  for at least the last four years. This has been done in conflict with the Alabama Tourism Department’s findings. This page reflects that example.

From: Lauren Lippeatt []
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 5:02 PM
To: Lauren Lippeatt

zoo logo

  Alabama‘s Number One Tourist Attraction



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                September 2, 2009


Lauren Lippeatt, Marketing Manager                    

205.397.3858 – office                                               

205.757.6789 – cell                                     


BIRMINGHAM, AL – Dolly, the Birmingham Zoo’s single, 18-year-old, female cheetah was euthanized today. The Zoo’s veterinarian staff made the difficult decision to euthanize the beloved cat due to declining health resulting from old age.  She was surrounded by her Zoo family and keepers.  Born in 1991, Dolly spent the first 2 years of her life at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas. The Birmingham Zoo has been her home for 16 years.   The entire Zoo family is saddened by this loss.  Dolly was the oldest recorded cheetah living in captivity.  Cheetahs may live 8 to 12 years in captivity.  Dolly’s life was extended beyond the average lifespan as a result of the excellent care given to her by Birmingham Zoo’s veterinarians and keepers.  She enjoyed lying in the sun, interacting with keepers and chasing squirrels.   

The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal.  Currently, the cheetah is listed as “vulnerable” on the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Animals.  They live in small, isolated populations in Africa eating animals such as gazelles, wildebeest, rabbits, warthogs and birds.   



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