David Calametti who publishes Alabama Coast Magazine and Kesshia Peyton representing the talked to the breakfast group. Convention & Visitors Bureau
According to Calametti and Peyton, the Mobile Bay area hosts 2.5 million visitors a year, not counting those in Gulf Shore and Orange Beach. Those 2.5 million visitors spend an astounding $829 million per year here. “That’s over $2 million per day in business,” Calametti emphasized.
“But there’s more,” Calametti continued. “The two and a half million folks generate some $9 million in lodging taxes and – here’s the most important part – tourism supports almost 16,000 jobs.
“If tourism was a single company, it would the largest employer in our area by far. In fact,” Calametti pointed out, “you’d have to combine the top three to match that number.
“So the next time you hear someone scoff at the Moopie or Mardi Gras, throw some of these numbers at ‘em. Can you imagine,” Calametti asked, “what the last two years would have been like without Mardi Gras?”
Kesshia Peyton, whom you might remember was with Channel 5 before joining the Mobile Convention & Visitors Bureau, explained that the Bureau is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by the city to be the marketing arm of the Mobile Bay area.
“The Mobile Convention & Visitors Bureau,” Peyton said, “is charged with attracting visitors and conventions to the area. Our accommodations, restaurants, history and architecture, art and culture, attractions and special events further strengthen Mobile’s image as a national destination, increasing economic stability and enhancing the region’s quality of life.”
Kesshia Peyton explained that attracting conventions is a critically important part of the Bureau’s mission. “There are the big ones like the World Leisure Conference that will be holding a future annual meeting in Mobile, but there are the lesser known groups like the International Doll Makers Association who will be here next month. All are important,” said Peyton. “And the Young Republicans National Federation,” Peyton told the group, “will be meeting in Mobile. We’re also talking to the National Cake Makers Association.”
Now if we could just get another cruise ship in Mobile. But this time, from some outfit more reputable than Carnival Cruise Lines.