Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Jun 20 2008

AL Gulf Coast CVB First in State to Receive National Accreditation

Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL—The Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) recently became the first destination marketing organization (DMO) from the state of Alabama to be accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP). The CVB joins a limited number – that will near 100 by the end of 2008 – of other accredited organizations throughout the nation and nearly 30 other countries.

DMAP is an international accreditation program developed by Destination Marketing Association International, which is a membership-based organization with more than 650 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) - which are sometimes called convention and visitor bureaus or tourism boards - in nearly 30 countries. Program applicants are judged on a wide range of criteria, such as finance, management, human resources, technology, visitor services, group services, sales, communications, membership, brand management, destination development, research/market intelligence, innovation and stakeholder relationships. Once a company receives accreditation, it joins an elite group of DMOs committed to industry excellence.

As the first DMO in the state to achieve this distinction, the Ala. Gulf Coast CVB reached its accreditation thanks to the hard work of several groups.

“Words cannot express how much this accreditation means to us,” said Herb Malone, president/CEO of the CVB. “I would like to thank every staff member for his or her hard work, diligence and excellent performance. In addition to the work of these skilled professionals, this mark of excellence would not have been possible without the leadership and accountability of our board of directors. Thanks to their unrelenting efforts and support, this organization has continued to grow by leaps and bounds.”

Founded in 1993, the Ala. Gulf Coast CVB is the official destination marketing organization for the areas of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan and is charged with the mission of promoting this area as a year-round vacation destination designed to provide economic prosperity and a better quality of life for residents and visitors. With 24 full-time and 8 part-time employees, the CVB has a $5 million budget, which is funded by 2 percent of the 11 percent lodging tax.

“The CVB is certainly a group of hard working, well-qualified professionals who love the area they represent and it shows,” said Grant Brown, general manager of Craft Farms and CVB board chairman. “This group has worked diligently with the Alabama Tourism Department getting the word out that the Alabama Gulf Coast is the destination of choice, and their efforts have certainly paid off. 2007 exceeded our expectations, which is quite a feat considering today’s economy.”

2007 proved to be blockbuster year. About 4.7 million people visited Orange Beach and Gulf Shores and left behind $2.3 billion in travel-related expenses. Even with a 940 room increase in the lodging inventory for the year, the area recorded a 19.7 percent increase in taxable lodging revenue when compared to 2006. The area (in conjunction with the rest of Baldwin County) accounted for the largest percentage of the state’s $1 billion of lodging revenue and continued to hold the largest portion of the market share over the five competing Florida panhandle counties.

For more information on DMAP, visit www.destinationmarketing.org. To plan your next vacation to the Alabama Gulf Coast, visit www.gulfshores.com or www.orangebeach.com.  

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