DOTHAN, Ala. — A southeast Alabama city is trying to increase tourism revenues with sporting events in hopes that more people will travel this year than in 2020, when the pandemic affected the economy.
Officials with Visit Dothan said visitors lured to the city by events like softball and baseball tournaments already spend millions annually, and they are cautiously optimistic that 2021 will be better than last year.
Hotels in Dothan booked more than 31,000 rooms linked to sporting events last year, officials said during a presentation Thursday, and they are hoping for an increase of more than 40% this year. That spending translates into additional sales for other businesses like restaurants.
The Dothan Eagle reported that the area tourism agency is launching new promotions that focus on sporting events including golf, tennis, soccer, BMX, baseball, swim, archery and more.
“We don’t have a conference centre or convention centre, but what we do have is amazing sports facilities and with all the amenities that go along with it. We’ve got a great array of hotels, restaurants, retail,” said Visit Dothan chief executive Aaron McCreight.
Stronger marketing of events will get more people to participate in the upcoming tournaments and bring in more revenue, he said. Visitors are expected to spend $12 million in Dothan in 2021, up from $3.9 million in 2018.
The Associated Press