Deep South USA Blog

The Alabama Tourism Department has won an International Travel and Tourism Award – the first U.S. state tourism department to ever win that honour.

AL Tourism Dept wins major international award

Alabama Tourism won the ‘Best Regional Destination Award’ for its marketing campaign for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which covers 14 states. The award was presented Tuesday, 5 November in London at World Travel Market, one of the tourism industry’s largest and most prestigious trade shows.

“This is an amazing honour,” said Alabama tourism director Lee Sentell, who accepted the award.

Although the state tourism department was competing against finalists from all over the world, including Barcelona, Pradesh in India, the Canary Islands and Brabant in the Netherlands, Sentell said he was always confident that Alabama had a good chance to win.

“Then when we got to the event and were seated at table No.10: knowing there would only be 16 winners announced, we felt it was a very good omen,” he said.

Alabama led the organisation of the heritage trail two years ago in partnership with Travel South USA based in Atlanta and the National Park Service. The trail is a result of research to nominate civil rights landmarks as World Heritage Sites.

Birmingham ad agency Luckie and Company created the U.S. Civil Rights Trail campaign, which links museums, churches and other African American landmarks. Sentell said that Luckie captured video interviews with civil rights foot soldiers from the 1960s and photos of landmarks that tourists can visit that made the campaign an international award winner. 

Sentell said that Alabama just making the final list of nominees was an honour since no state tourism agency had ever been a finalist in any of the International Travel and Tourism Awards 16 categories. But he said winning it was not only an honour but would be a great asset in promoting the U.S. Civil Rights Trail to international visitors. Almost a fourth of the civil rights landmark sites on the trail are in Alabama.

For further information on Alabama Tourism, please email 

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