By Madison Underwood
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley congratulated the City of Birmingham Thursday for its successful bid to host the 2021 World Games, and praised Alabama's Southern hospitality.
"Congratulations to the city of Birmingham on being chosen to host the 2021 World Games," Bentley said in a statement. "Alabama has so much to offer and we are eager to roll out the red carpet for our national and international guests."
Birmingham beat out competing bids from Ufa, Russia and Lima, Peru to grab the games. The production is expected to cost $75 million and the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau has estimated the games will have a $256 million economic impact.
"The economic impact of this decision is significant and will provide a great opportunity for our guests to enjoy and explore the the best that Alabama has to offer," Bentley said in the statement. "The citizens of our state take great pride in our unique brand of southern hospitality, and we look forward to this rare opportunity to invite the world into our home state."
At a news conference Thursday afternoon at Atlantic Aviation in Birmingham, Bentley praised those who worked to bring the Games to Alabama, including Birmingham Mayor William Bell. Bentley said the boon to tourism will be great, and the event will help showcase what Alabama has to offer people from all over the world.
"Tourism is such a vital part of any state's industry," he said. "It's a vital part of ours. I think this is something we can all be proud of."
As for the cost of putting the Games on, Bentley said he didn't know how much the state will help -- he'll be out of office by 2021 -- but he said the state could help find corporate sponsors and other partners to help alleviate the costs.
Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, said Thursday he was "delighted" by Birmingham's victory, and also praised Alabama's Southern hospitality.
"I am delighted that Birmingham has been chosen to host the 2021 World Games," Palmer said. "The World Games has not been held inside the United States since it was founded 1981, and it is a fantastic opportunity for the people of Birmingham and surrounding areas to display true southern hospitality. Also, the tourism and publicity it will generate will be a big boost to the economy of the region."
"The people of Birmingham are welcoming, hardworking and huge sports fans," Palmer continued. "The city features state of the art athletic facilities that will make for a fantastic event. The thousands of athletes that participate as well as the fans and spectators that will come from all over the world will find that they could have made no better choice."