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SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2007
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Welcome-center staffs tour Decatur, neighboring cities

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com · 340-2437

Those who greet tourists when they arrive in Alabama got a chance last week to sit in their seats and see what they see.

A busload of staffers from the state’s eight welcome centers visited Decatur and surrounding cities so that they can give firsthand accounts of what the area has to offer to visitors.

The bus tour began Sunday at Mooresville and ended Friday in Hartselle.

The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association sponsored the educational tour of Northeast Alabama.

“The tour is to familiarize with the attractions of the area so that they can tell visitors what they can expect,” said Angie McNeal, vice president of the association.

Morgan County District 4 Commissioner Stacy George and Lawrence County District 5 Commissioner Alma Whitlow went on the tour with the group of about 40 from across the state. George and Whitlow are members of the association’s board of directors.

“I think they were very impressed with Decatur,” said George. “They were really taken with the older homes and how they were kept so neat and everything. They also liked the historic downtown areas, especially the Bank Street area,”

The tour group met Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Tami Reist and others for lunch. Reist said the tour will help the welcome center staffers promote Decatur.

“These people get to see all the great things there are to do in North Alabama,” said Reist. “They’re able to be like cheerleaders for us. It is definitely a wonderful educational tour.”

Among the places the group visited in Decatur were the Old State Bank and Carnegie Visual Arts Center.

In addition to Decatur and Hartselle, other cities the group toured included Cullman, Fort Payne, Guntersville and Gadsden.

Each year, more than 5.5 million travelers go through the state’s welcome centers.

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