59 Alabama Travel and Tourism Statistics to Know for 2024

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Key Points

  • Alabama is the 33rd most visited state and ranked 24th for population change. A total of 28.6 million people visited Alabama in 2022, contributing $4.1 billion in direct earnings.
  • Gulf Shores and Orange Beach were ranked the 5th most searched summer getaway in 2023. There were a total of 8.3 million visitors in 2022 – by far the highest of any region in Alabama.
  • The second most-visited region in Alabama is Madison County. There were 3.9 million visitors in 2022.

Interested in copies of all the reports used in this post? Contact me at twostepmediaventures@gmail.com.

In terms of tourism, Alabama is roughly in the middle of the pack. According to Statista, it was the 33rd most visited state for 2022 (the most recent year data is available). 

But travel and tourism is growing fast. In fact, the travel industry grew at a pace of 5.4% in 2022 – more than double the growth (1.9%) of Alabama’s GDP.

It’s also in the middle of the pack for population change. Alabama is the 24th fastest growing state in the country, according to the US Census Bureau. It grew by 34,565 people (0.7%) between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023.

But there are some areas in Alabama that are booming.

Here, we’ll look at other key statistics to know about tourism and travel within the state of Alabama. All statistics presented are based on the most recent data available, with the date provided where possible.

Total Impact

Source

Here are key statistics to know for the state as a whole (2022):

  • 28,627,670 people visited the state
  • Tourism generated $4.1 billion in direct earnings
  • Tourism generated $7.4 billion in total impact earnings
  • It also helped generate 238,741 jobs:
    • 53% of those jobs were in foodservice
    • 20% were in overnight accommodations
    • 13% were in entertainment
    • 7% were in general retail

Visitors

Source

Here are total visitor expenditures ($) by region for 2022:

  • $9,573,800,982 for the Gulf Coast Region (Mobile and Baldwin Counties)
  • $3,563,027,014 for the South Region
  • $4,943,201,274 for the Central Region
  • $4,307,587,447 for the North Region

Let’s look at other visitor statistics for some of Alabama’s major cities and regions.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach (Baldwin County)

Source , Source

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Gulf. In fact, this area was named the 5th most searched summer getaway by HomeToGo.

Key 2023 statistics for the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach areas:

  • Spending on lodging was $880 million
  • Retail spending was $1.44 billion

2022 statistics to know for Baldwin County:

  • Total of 8,311,418 visitors
  • Total of 2,052,157 visitors staying in overnight accommodations
  • The average room rate was $169
  • The average room occupancy rate was 61.4%

Huntsville (Madison County)

Source

2022 statistics to know for Madison County:

  • Total of 3,905,528 visitors
  • Total of 2,714,342 visitors staying in overnight accommodations
  • The average room rate was $108
  • The average room occupancy rate was 69.5%

Montgomery (Montgomery County)

Source

2022 statistics to know for Montgomery County:

  • Total of 1,541,437 visitors
  • Total of 938,782 visitors staying in overnight accommodations
  • The average room rate was $95
  • The average room occupancy rate was 64.0%

Mobile (Mobile County)

Source , Source

2022 statistics to know for Mobile County:

  • Total of 3,294,083 visitors
  • Total of 1,917,156 visitors staying in overnight accommodations
  • The average room rate was $102
  • The average room occupancy rate was 59.1%

There has only been one study conducted on the economic impact of Mardi Gras in Mobile, and it is considered too outdated to use. 

There has been discussion of conducting a new study, but to date it has not been done yet.

For reference, here are key statistics from that study (dated 2004):

  • 12,811 jobs were directly tied to Mardi Gras
  • About 850,000 people attend events related to Mardi Gras
  • $227 million was spent in Mobile and Baldwin Counties during the events

Jefferson County (Birmingham)

Source

Birmingham is Alabama’s second-largest city – right behind Huntsville. It is located in Jefferson County.

2022 statistics to know for Jefferson County:

  • There were a total of 3,354,245 visitors
  • There were a total of 2,136,654 visitors staying in hotel or motel accommodations
  • The average room rate was $115
  • The average room occupancy rate was 63.3%

Airports

The busiest airport is Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International (BHM), followed by Huntsville International Airport (HSV)

Let’s look at the most recent numbers for these two airports.

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International (BHM)

Source

Here are key statistics on Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International (BHM) (2023):

  • 3,056,215 total passengers
  • The busiest months were October (289,785 passengers), July (277,508 passengers), and June (277,103 passengers)
  • Major airlines (% market share as of January 2024):
    • Southwest (31%)
    • Delta (29%)
    • American (29%)
    • United (11%)

Huntsville International Airport (HSV)

Source

Here are key statistics on Huntsville International Airport (HSV) (2023):

  • 1,473,629 total passengers
  • Most frequently flied destinations (direct flights, as of 2022):
    • Washington DC
    • Orlando, FL
    • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

National Parks

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Here are statistics on some key parks in Alabama managed by the National Park Service.

Little River Canyon

  • There were 700,638 visitors in 2023
  • This is a decrease from 726,239 visitors in 2022

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park

  • There were 72,725 visitors in 2023
  • This is an increase from 67,773 visitors in 2022

Russell Cave National Monument

  • There were 8,678 visitors in 2023
  • This is a decrease from 16,988 visitors in 2022

Restaurants

Source

Here are key statistics to know about Alabama restaurants, which are supported by both locals and visitors (data current as of 2022):

  • There are a total of 9,481 restaurants and places to eat and drink in Alabama
  • Foodservice jobs accounted for 10% of all employment in Alabama in 2022, or a total of 201,200 jobs.
  • The foodservice industry has estimated 2022 revenues of $11.8 billion in Alabama

The Bottom Line

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are very popular Gulf Coast destinations, with affordable rates, beautiful beaches, and great food. Other major visitor regions include Mobile, Huntsville, Montgomery, and Birmingham.

Tourism plays a major role in Alabama’s economy, contributing billions annually and creating thousands of jobs.



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