Global leaders enhance Gulf Shores as leader in ecotourism


Jacques Cousteau. National Geographic. These names conjure images of global endeavors that protect, preserve and present the most treasured places on the planet.

Now, they are part of the lexicon of Baldwin County too.

Last week Eagle Cottages at Gulf State Park became the newest member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World Program. The cottages are only the seventh such named location in the U.S. among 55 sites around the globe.

Earlier this year community leaders were introduced to the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability. The world-class ecotourism and experiential learning facility in Gulf Shores was developed in part with the help of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society.

The impact this can have on our county is immeasurable.

First, it is affirmation that our local commitment to protect our natural and cultural heritage is working. The Unique Lodges of the World Program only includes properties that offer guests an intimate, meaningful connection to nature, while at the same time preserving it.

The hands-on programing that will be offered at the Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability beginning this fall creates a benchmark in meshing education, tourism and preservation that other communities will look to for inspiration and guidance.

As the entire world looks to preserve the natural wonders and resources that surround every community on every continent, the people and businesses of Baldwin County can continue to build on the successes that attracted these international accolades.

These world-renowned entities bring with them more than a nod to our environmental stewardship, they bring a brand name known worldwide that will in turn only serve to improve Baldwin County on the international stage.

Our market place is now center stage for the best and brightest in the industry. As they make Baldwin County a regular destination to visit, others will follow. With our pristine white, sugar sand beaches the draw to Alabama’s coast was irresistible. Now, with international brands such as National Geographic and Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society as part of the fabric of our community, visitors have even more reasons to make a stop in Baldwin County the top of their vacation to do list. And that is good for everyone.