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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2006
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EDITORIAL

State tourism effort promotes economic development here

Those of us who live in Alabama know it is someplace special. It's good to know we have someone as competent as former Decatur resident Lee Sentell making sure others know it's special, too.

Mr. Sentell, a former Decatur Daily city editor and a resident of Decatur, is state tourism director. He outlined his strategies in the position at a Rotary Club meeting Monday.

"People want to know what makes our state different from another," Mr. Sentell said. "It's all about what separates Alabama from other Southern states and makes us special."

What that means is that much of what we love about Alabama may appeal to others.

Alabama has its own culture of food — including barbecue, the best of which is arguably made in Decatur — and music and gardens, all of interest to many outside the state. It is also a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, with excellent fishing and hunting opportunities.

The wonderful thing is that what this state does naturally, thanks to efforts by Mr. Sentell and others, converts so easily to economic benefit.

That's great from a tourism standpoint. It's also important from the standpoint of attracting companies and a skilled workforce. Tourism efforts are also economic development efforts, and money spent promoting tourism pays off when industry considers locating here. It also pays off now, as military personnel decide whether they want to relocate to the expanded Redstone Arsenal, and where they want to live.

Alabama has much to offer. Getting the word out benefits us all.

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