Your first thought is probably, “Dothan has a tourism industry?” And the answer is a loud “YES.”
Take just last weekend, for example. If you didn’t know, more than a thousand competitors converged on Dothan for our two largest events of the year – The Future Masters junior golf tournament and USA BMX Nationals. The Future Masters hosted golfers at the Dothan Country Club for its 70th annual tournament. Junior golfers came from all over the world to compete for multiple age group titles. For BMX, riders from all over the United States spent the weekend on the Circle City BMX track at Westgate Park to battle it out for national points and prestige. When athletes travel, so do their families, which means thousands of visitors came to Dothan in a week’s time.
In the next few months, even more travelers will be here for baseball tournaments, soccer tournaments, a comic-con in October called Fanaticon, the National Peanut Festival, and our Christmas events. They will also be traveling through on their way to the beach, and on their way back home. They’ll eat in our restaurants, shop at our mall and boutiques, fill up at our gas stations, and spend the night at one of our 35 hotels.
That is where Visit Dothan comes in. You might know us as the Visitors Center on Ross Clark Circle with the gold peanut where you can pick up calendars and brochures for our attractions. Or you may follow us on social media (@VisitDothan) or have visited our website (VisitDothan.com) for information on events. All of that is true. But what we really are is a representative for an industry that brings tourists to our beautiful city each year through leisure, sports, and business travel. Our team works tirelessly to market Dothan area events to potential visitors throughout the region, and to engage tournament organizers and travel planners to bring their groups to Dothan. Visit Dothan is so much more than just the place to find out what to do around here. We are an economic development powerhouse, bringing in tax dollars to the city.
In 2018, travelers in Dothan spent over $300 million in our hotels, restaurants, shops, and transportation centers. That $300 million translated into over 2,800 jobs for Dothan’s citizens.
Visit Dothan will be featured in this column every month, thanks to the Dothan Eagle’s partnership in our tourism efforts. We are excited to tell you more about the work that we do at Visit Dothan, and keep you informed on the events and happenings bringing travelers to Dothan. In the meantime, visit our website (VisitDothan.com) for continually updated information about attractions, events, dining, hotels, and sports. You are also welcome at our Visitors Center to grab brochures, maps, and Dothan souvenirs, and to talk to our helpful staff, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tourism works for Dothan, and we are proud to be a part of it.
-- Aaron McCreight is Executive Director of Visit Dothan