GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Alabama’s beaches are the crown jewel of the tourism industry in the state. Gov. Kay Ivey touted the state’s coast from Gulf Shores on Wednesday.

“Tourism down here on the Gulf Coast is a money-making machine that’s for sure,” said Ivey as she addressed tourism leaders from across the state.

After another record-breaking season that saw hundreds of thousands flock to the sand and surf, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are already poised for another stellar season.

“Spring numbers, what’s on the books right now, we are outpacing where we were the last two years. It looks like there is a high demand still,” said President and CEO of Gulf Shores-Orange Beach Tourism Beth Gendler.

Gendler said the numbers are remarkable when you consider not only did the vacation destination deal with a pandemic, but Hurricane Sally, too.

“Our destination rebounds very well in almost all of our adversity because of our drive-ability where people didn’t want to get on planes, didn’t want to fly or couldn’t and all the outdoor activities,” said Gendler.

Tourism officials across the state are looking to build on last year’s momentum and move forward. But when it comes to the challenges of COVID they are not taking anything for granted.

“Things were very different over the last two years so we will see what the new normal will bring us,” said Gendler.