October 23, 2016
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Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Named Attraction of the Year


To be Presented at 2009 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism Awards


Montgomery, Alabama—The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) has been named 2009 Attraction of the Year by the Alabama Tourism Department. A black-tie awards ceremony takes place Tuesday, September 1 at the Marriot Grand Hotel in Point Clear. Tourism leaders and hospitality representatives throughout the state along with First Lady Patsy Riley will attend the awards banquet.  BCRI President and CEO Dr. Lawrence J. Pijeaux, Jr. plans to accept the award on behalf of the Institute.


Thousands visit the state of the art, multi-media facility that houses exhibitions of historical events from post-World-War I segregation to present day racial progress. The permanent exhibition of the institution is a self-directed journey which features galleries that look at various aspects of the Civil Rights Movement.


Multiple theatres feature videos that recount many of the historical events and an interactive media gallery gives visitors a sense of the international scope of the Movement. The institute houses a replica of a burned-out bus from the Freedom Rides and the actual door of the jail cell where Dr. Martin Luther King wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and a newly renovated Human Rights Gallery.


Criteria for the Attraction of the Year award include outstanding economic impact statistics, quality and effectiveness of marketing efforts, additions and/or improvements designed to increase appeal to tourists, increased attendance and the enhancement of local, regional or state image as a tourist destination.


The Attraction of the Year Award is among 13 for 2009 that comprise the Alabama Tourism Awards. The awards were first presented in 1998 and honor outstanding achievements in the state’s tourism industry. Each award winner is recognized as a key player in making tourism a strong economic force. Tourism contributed $9 billion to Alabama’s economy in 2008 and supported 170,000 jobs statewide. More than 22 million visited the state last year.


The Alabama Tourism Department coordinates the awards program. Other winners are as follows:

·         Government Advocate Award—Representative Richard Lindsey, 39th Congressional District.

·         Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame—Tony Rayne; founder and past president of Abbeville Chamber of Commerce.

·         Media Advocate Award—Raycom Media.

·         Governor’s Tourism Award—J. Gary Ellis, President of Compass Marketing, Inc., GulfShores.

·         Organization of the Year—AlabamaMountainLakes Tourist Association.

·         Event of the Year—BayFest, Mobile.

·         Tourism Executive of the Year—Michael Gunn, VP of Convention Sales, Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

·         Tourism Employee of the Year—Jennifer Moore, Huntsville/Madison CountyConvention & Visitors Bureau.

·         Partnership Award—Alabama Barbeque Association.

·         Welcome Center of the Year—SumterWelcomeCenter.

·         *Theme Campaign— Alabama Scenic River Trail.

·         *Rising Star Award—Kalleigh Drake, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce.


*— denotes new award for 2009.

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