Southwest Airline Expected to Impact Bama Tourism

Southwest Airline Expected to Impact Bama Tourism

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GULF SHORES, Alabama -

When Southwest Airlines landed in Pensacola, it wasn't just Florida folks applauding it's arrival. "There is lots of opportunities that are going to open up for us that we didn't have before." Joanie Flynn with Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Tourism was actually on that flight and says the airline could have an huge impact on our part of the gulf coast.

"We've done recent studies that show us they are very positive about coming here. Now this will make it easier to do so," says Flynn.

Southwest in Pensacola could mean more people coming to Alabama beaches, businesses having quicker access to clients in Nashville and Houston but for Lauren Turner there's a more personal reason.

"I'm flying to El Paso Texas to go see my boyfriend who has been in Afghanistan for the past six months."

Turner booked a flight with Southwest for the December reunion. "Southwest coming was huge for me otherwise I would be flying a different airline for about 200 dollars more. So, it was a nice little Christmas present."

Southwest could be the gift that keeps on giving according to Flynn. "A lot of time when people fly into a market they will drive up to two to three hours to get to the resort market. We're considered very, very close."

With Pensacola International Airport only 45 minutes away a new crop of tourists could be landing soon on Alabama beaches.

Southwest offers non-stop flights to Nashville and Houston Hobby out of Pensacola. Airline officials tell News Five more destinations could be added if the demand is there.

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