A Tribal economic arm has invested more than $170 million into the state of Alabama during the first quarter of 2019 alone — including another $100 million in OWA, the resort and waterpark in Alabama’s Gulf Coast region. OWA means “big water” in the Muskogee Creek language.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians-owned destination OWA already boasts an amusement park with 22-attractions, a 150-room Marriott TownePlace suites, and more than 14 shopping, dining, and live entertainment options. An 100-lot RV park at OWA is slated to open in 2020, while a hotel and Alabama’s first indoor waterpark are forecasted to debut in 2021.
“Being a substantial economic driver for the State of Alabama, we have continually invested into OWA’s diverse entertainment offerings in an effort to provide visitors and residents with a one-of-a-kind resort experience,” said Cody Williamson, president and CEO of Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority (CIEDA), the Tribe’s economic development arm.
So far in 2019, CIEDA has additionally integrated the Fairfield Inn and Suites and Holiday Inn Express hotels in Atmore into its portfolio. The hotel properties, in the process being remodeled, mark the seventh and eighth hotels to be added to the CIEDA portfolio of hotels. The investment in these properties, located in close proximity to the Tribe’s Wind Creek Casino Atmore, totals $18 million.
The Tribe also recently invested in the new 120-room AC Hotel by Marriott in Huntsville, which debuted March 25 — another major investment totaling $31 million. The property marks the second Huntsville hotel investment for CIEDA.
CIEDA’s investments will top $350 million-plus toward destinations advancements.
Williamson commented, “We are excited to be able to invest heavily in our home state. With regard to tourism, Alabama has much to offer. Regardless if visitors come to Alabama to see our amazing amusement park and shops at OWA, our pristine beaches or the beauty of downtown Huntsville, we want to make sure they leave with a sense of what Alabama hospitality is all about. We know that growing Alabama’s hospitality industry is a great way to facilitate more tourism, which in turn drives more jobs and increased growth for our state. In this way, we understand that investing in Alabama is a win-win for everyone.”