TUSCALOOSA SEEKS SPIKE IN TOURISM, AND SOCIAL MEDIA IS TO THANK
Reporting by WVUA 23 Reporter Haley Whigham
Tuscaloosa has high hopes of bringing new people to experience all the Druid City has to offer. The key has been social media, platforms that are helping connect newcomers to local businesses and industries.
“Students and tourists coming in for football games, they have hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram,” Danny Owen, digital media specialist for the city of Tuscaloosa said. “Those people see the cool things we have with things like public art, installations and stuff like that and that makes Tuscaloosa look like a really cool place to be.”
According to Twitter, 30% of travelers in the United States are turning to social media in search of trip inspiration, and Tuscaloosa seems to benefit from it.
“We’ve become a tourist attraction, and a lot of people see us on national television during football season and other venues, so the comments on social media, I think, ride the shirttail of the media itself,” Gary Lewis, founder of Rama Jama’s said.
One family, known as “True Southern Accent,” uses the power of YouTube to help attract people to Tuscaloosa by visiting popular spots around the University of Alabama’s campus.
“Parents are bringing their kids down here and they have been looking at YouTube and different things to see what other people have seen here on the campus so social media is just a tool,” Rodney Pope said. “It is unbelievable how it just makes everything at the touch of your finger.”
Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports puts emphasis on the fact that social media is like a chain reaction and they encourage everyone to continue using social media as an outlet to draw people into the city.