Those of us who make our livings as Destination Marketers have schedules very different from our tourists. Here in our area, visitors on vacation come primarily in the spring through fall. Our top months for tourists are June, July, October and November and our lightest ones are January and February. With that said, we get leisure visitors year round who love our scenic beauty when the trees have shed their leaves and our beauty shows without being blocked by foliage.

For us to plan our advertising for spring and summer we are doing it in the winter; in fact much of our annual behind the scenes planning is done in the time we have the least visitors. This is the time of year tourism as an industry has the most planning meetings, seminars and trade shows. For us to get people to come here during the spring through fall seasons we need to get to them in the winter when they are planning where they want to go. This is why the big travel shows scattered all around the country take place in the winter. It is at these where we set up booths and hand out travel guides and other brochures promoting our area to thousands of people who visit these shows to plan their annual travels.

DeKalb Tourism works with Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association and the State of Alabama Department of Travel and Tourism which in total creates approximately 40 to 50 running feet of booth space at the major travel shows. This occupies much of an isle in these large exhibition halls to promote travel to the state of Alabama, North Alabama and specifically DeKalb County. Many visitors have very different interests in what they are looking for in a vacation. If it is golf or fishing we are not the top spot but if it is for camping, hiking, scenic beauty, state and National Parks, rental cabins, B&B’s and campgrounds we are a preferred destination in Alabama.

The beach is the top leisure travel location in the state and we have the same appeal except our appeal is the mountains, scenery, parks and fall foliage. In fact, many of our visitors are those who live on or near the gulf and we are their preferred change of scenery. We like to go to the beach from here for the same reason…it is a big change of scenery.

Everyone all around our state and region love our area and we consistently rank as one of the preferred destinations for leisure travel in our state.

— John Dersham is the president and CEO of DeKalb Tourism.

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