Alabama tourism unsure about recent Roy Moore scandal

Published on : Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Alabama tourismWill Alabama tourism suffer from the recent Roy Moore scandal? Lee Sentell, the state’s director of tourism, is not sure about that.

For now, Sentell said the only people his office is hearing from are Moore detractors after The Washington Post published a story about the former judge having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979. The story also details accounts of Moore’s romantic pursuits with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.

“The reaction back then generated a lot more comments from both sides of the issue than what we’ve seen in the last few days, where the only people we are hearing from now are Moore’s detractors,” said Sentell.

Shortly after being elected the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001, Moore supervised the display of a granite sculpture featuring two carved tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. Moore refused to the move the monument after various organizations, including the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, filed a federal lawsuit. The face-off lasted through 2003, and ended with Moore’s removal from the bench.

It also brought about a lot of publicity and retorts, and Sentell said his office was inundated with reactions.

Sentell said he’s uncertain how the recent attention will affect tourism next year, and whether anyone outside the state will cancel a trip to Alabama because of the recent Moore controversy.

Alabama, in 2016, set a record for annual tourism for the sixth year in a row since the 2010 BP oil spill. More than 25.8 million people visited Alabama last year, up from 2.5 percent over the 25.2 million people who came in 2015. Travelers spent more than $13.3 billion last year, an increase of 5.4 percent over 2015. The state’s largest counties – Baldwin, Jefferson, Madison, Mobile and Montgomery sees the maximum number of tourists.


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