TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Some good economic news to report from Tuscaloosa. Leaders from Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports say folks who visited Tuscaloosa County in 2022 spent $895 million.

Stan Adams with Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports says this is major for Tuscaloosa and good news for the local economy.

“This is huge and signals we are back from COVID, three years since the shutdown,” Adams said. “It’s kind of slowly trickled back and football helped inject a boost to the economy, but I think we are seeing more leisure travel and conferences and normal tourism stuff really start to pick up.”

Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports say a good portion of the $895 million comes from Alabama football home games at Bryant Denny Stadium. On average, each home gameday weekend generated $20 to $25 million dollars. Tuscaloosa also has over 4,000 hotel rooms which generated $104 million in lodging revenue.

“I think it shows we are a healthy economy and people are traveling to us here and that really gets invested in everything else that money that’s spent here from outside dollars gets put in schools and roads and it’s great to see that money get reinvested back into the community,” Adams said.

Visitors also spent lots of money at entertainment venues like the Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre. Many others spent funds for recreation events like fishing and boating on Lake Tuscaloosa.

Urban Bar and Kitchen manager Logan Cull says she was excited to hear so many tourists and visitors are spending big in Tuscaloosa because it’s good for her downtown restaurant.

“It’s definitely good for our community and allows us to build our brand here and we are always grateful for everyone who walks in our door,” Cull said. “It’s unbelievable and the fact that huge numbers show just backs up the fact that Tuscaloosa is a great place to be whether you are here for school or for football or you’re here for vacation.”

Last year, Tuscaloosa County employed nearly 10,000 people in the tourism industry.