How a state cashed in on culinary tourism

Tourists to Alabama spent $7.6 billion during the year that I created and led the implementation of a national strategic public relations program that focused on the state’s outstanding restaurants.

Alabama tourism should have lost money that year due to a devastating hurricane. Instead, tourists spent an extra $228 million.

The strategic program generated extensive media coverage for the state’s top restaurants, dishes and chefs.

We’re talking major coverage like “CBS This Morning,” The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and a seven-part series in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where the travel reporter toured the state and sampled each of the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.”

In fact, the results were so strong that our work for “The Year of Alabama Food” won the U.S. Travel Association’s Mercury Award for best special promotion.

The bottom line: The strategic programs that I create make my clients lots of money.