CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman County Museum Director Drew Green recently completed a three-year continuing education program offered by the Southeast Tourism Society to earn his certification as a Travel Marketing Professional. In addition, Green earned his Festival and Events Planner certification.
Green sat down with The Tribune to explain how he hopes the continuing education training will benefit tourism in Cullman County.
“We are really fortunate in this area because we have the Alabama Mountain Lakes (Tourist) Association, and they are really successful promoting tourism in all of north Alabama,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize the economic impact tourism has on an area.”
In its 2018 Economic Impact Report, the Alabama Department of Tourism reported, “Travelers are estimated to have spent more than $15.5 billion in 2018, an increase of $1.2 billion or 8.5 percent, a record total and percentage of growth. It was the second year in a row for growth in excess of one billion dollars in a single year.”
Green said the Cullman County Museum averages between 7,500 to 10,000 visitors each year, with many coming from out of the area.
“The museum is just one stop,” he explained. “It may be the reason they came because they are interested in their German heritage, but once they are here, they may eat at Carlton’s, shop in the Warehouse District or stay in a hotel or RV.”
The program Green completed teaches the importance of teambuilding within the community and making sure tourism dollars stay in the Cullman area.
“You want to be a team because I want them to do well and they want us to do well,” he said. “When people come to the museum, I try to get a feel about how long they will be here or what their interests are.”
For example, if a person is interested in the Civil War, Green said, he would recommend they visit the Crooked Creek Civil War Museum. He said he most often gives dining recommendations.
“One nice thing about getting to know all those people from different areas (in the training program) is my class of 2019 has a Facebook Page and there’s about 60 of us. If I am interested in starting something, having a problem or needing some feedback, I can just say something and get some good, free advice.”
Through the classes, Green said he has been able to network with other museum and tourism directors throughout the Southeast and exchange new ideas.
“Cullman has so many varieties of events, venues and attractions. We just need to get the word out!” Green smiled.
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