FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381
Marshall County Tourism and Sports Named Organization of the Year
Decatur, Ala. (September 22, 2022) - The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) has honored Marshall County Tourism and Sports (MCTS) with the 2022 Organization of the Year award. The award is among 11 that comprise the 2022 PEAK Awards that were presented today at the AMLA Annual Meeting held at Mars Music Hall in downtown Huntsville, Ala.
Representing the highest achievement in North Alabama tourism, the PEAK Awards honor individuals, events and organizations that have had a major impact on tourism in North Alabama. The Organization of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member organization that has contributed significantly to the betterment and development of tourism in North Alabama in the past year.
In the past year, MCTS has rebranded itself, developing a new brand that embraces the lake, the county's biggest tourism asset, and the growth of sports tourism from the county's newest sports complex, the Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater. A new mobile visitor center, the first of its kind in Alabama, one new hotel, two others under development and an additional 450 new campsites in three locations speak to the county's tourism growth and the organization's continued determination to meet the changing dynamics within the county. Through the work of MCTS, 2021 lodging tax revenue saw a 27% increase over 2020. Even during COVID, when other destinations were losing money, MCTS managed their marketing and budget seeing less than 2% decrease in lodging tax revenue over 2019, which had been a record year for the county.
With a staff of only three, the tourism office hosts one of the largest events in the county every summer - Guntersville Lake HydroFest. In 2022, the team hosted the APBA Gold Cup for the first time in the state's history of boat racing. The tourism team raised $256,000 in sponsorship support - above and beyond the amount targeted for this year, ensuring the event's success. For the past three years, the team has received the Site of The Year Award from H1 Unlimited at the annual boat race banquet, standing out among other sites like Detroit, San Diego and Seattle.
“With the PEAK Awards, we celebrate and recognize the many talented individuals and organizations who offer our visitors a unique and memorable experience. These individuals and organizations continue to show their commitment, resilience and ingenuity, even during the uncertain times a pandemic brings with it. Because of these tourism leaders, attractions, festivals and front-line workers, the tourism and travel industry continues to be a driving force in North Alabama’s economy,” said AMLA President/CEO Tami Reist.
Complete list of award winners:
Organization of the Year
The Organization of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member organization that has contributed significantly to the betterment and development of tourism in North Alabama in the past year.
Winner: Marshall County Tourism and Sports
Event of the Year
The Event of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member special event or festival that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Lexington Truck and Tractor Pull
Attraction of the Year
The Attraction of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member attraction that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Orion Amphitheater
Good Neighbor Award
The “Good Neighbor” Friend of Tourism Award is presented to a person or organization whose body of work has had a significant impact on tourism in the past year.
Winner: Mayor Kerry Underwood, City of Tuscumbia
Northern Star Award
The Northern Star Award is presented to an individual, such as a ranger, guide and a front line employee, who has gone “above and beyond” expectations.
Winner: Jabria Finch, Double Tree Suites by Hilton South Parkway
Young Professional of the Year Award
The Young Professional of the Year “Green Apple Award” is awarded to a person who has been in the tourism business less than seven years and has exhibited extraordinary leadership skills and initiative associated with their position.
Winner: Blake Williams, Blake Williams Communications
Tourism Professional of the Year
The Tourism Professional of the Year award is presented to an individual or employee of an AMLA member organization who has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Pam Williams, Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Lasting Impression Award
The Lasting Impression Award is presented to an attraction, event, person or organization that has provided a “lasting impression” on tourists thereby improving the overall image of tourism in North Alabama.
Winner: Scottsboro Three Arts Club
The Chairman’s Cup Award is given annually to a travel writer or media person who has over time demonstrated support of AMLA, the region and its tourism activities.
Winner: Carrie Banks, Communications Director, Alabama League of Municipalities and editor, Alabama Municipal Journal
The President’s Award is presented to any person or organization whose tourism-related project created awareness or presented a positive image for North Alabama in the past year.
Winner: The late William “Bill” Jarnigan, University of North Alabama
Top North Alabama Ambassador of the Year
The award recognizes the work and achievements of the top performing North Alabama Ambassador in the past year.
Winner: David Parham, Huntsville, Ala.
Images of award recipients are available upon request by calling AMLA at 800.648.5381 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting www.NorthAlabama.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @VisitNorthAL and like us at www.facebook.com/VisitNorthAL.