Tourism is a strong industry in the state. According to Business Insider, Alabama ranked 14th in the ranking of the most popular states to visit in 2014.
An estimated 26 million tourists visited the state in 2018. More than 100,000 of them came from other countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Japan. In 2006, 22.3 million travelers spent $8.3 billion to create approximately 162,000 jobs in the state. The state is home to various attractions, natural sites, parks and events that attract visitors from all over the world, in particular, the annual Hangout Music Festival held on the public beaches of Gulf Shores; the Shakespeare Festival in Alabama, one of the ten largest Shakespeare festivals in the world; Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a collection of championship caliber golf – distributed throughout the state; casinos such as Victoryland ; amusement parks such as Alabama Splash Adventure; Riverchase Galleria, one of the largest shopping malls in the Southeast; Guntersville Lake, recognized by readers of Southern Living Magazine as the best lake in Alabama; and the Alabama Museum of Natural History, the oldest museum in the state.
Mobile is known for being the oldest organized Mardi Gras celebration in the United States, dating back to 1703. It was also the venue for the first officially organized Mardi Gras parade in the United States in 1830, a tradition that continues to this day. Mardi Gras is an official public holiday in Mobile and Baldwin counties . In 2018, the Mardi Gras parade in Mobile became the main event of the state, attracting the largest number of tourists with an attendance of 892,811 people. The main attraction was the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville with an attendance of 849,981, followed by the Birmingham Zoo with 543,090 visitors. Among parks and natural attractions, the Gulf Coast in Alabama topped the list with 6,700,000 visitors. Alabama has historically been a popular region for filming films due to the diversity of landscapes and the contrast of the environment. Films shot in Alabama include: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Get Out, 42, Selma, Big Fish, The Final Destination, Due Date, Need For Speed and more.