Convention & Visitors Bureau hosting 'Travel Rally'

ALBANY, Ga. -- City officials are pushing what they consider to be a major contributor to the local economy.

The Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau along with the Albany Welcome Center is leading the city's travel workers in a "Travel Rally" this week.

The celebration is one of dozens of rallies nationwide marking the 27th annual National Travel and Tourism Week.

"This is just a week of celebrating travel and tourism," said Albany CVB Director Lisa Riddle.

Officials say the rallies demonstrate in human terms the value of travel to the local community by showing support for the jobs and economic impact created by visitors.

"We want to get the word out that travel creates jobs," Riddle said. "It is one of the biggest employers when you look at other industries. It creates a significant economic impact."

Travel and tourism is a $178 million industry for Albany, providing 2,000 jobs and generating more than $5 million in tax revenue locally. The work force attached to this industry can include airline and attraction employees as well as restaurant, hotel and taxi workers.

As part of the celebration, the Albany Welcome Center is hosting an event planning workshop from 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The event's program is expected to include an overview of the CVB's services as well as possible itinerary ideas and exhibits from area resources including hotels, meeting facilities and attractions.

"We want to get the word out that we are here," Riddle said. "We are the information source."

This is the first such workshop the CVB has hosted. There is no charge to participate.

"Hopefully this is something we can do two to three times a year," Riddle said. "We hope there will be great response; we've already had several RSVPs."

The U.S. Travel Association reports that travel and tourism is one of America's largest industries. Direct spending by domestic and international travelers generated $704 billion in the nation's economy last year.

"Today, we stand up for travel," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, in a statement, "Travel is one of the country's biggest employers with more than 10 million Americans depending on this industry for their paychecks.

"Everyday travel powers our economy in cities and states across the country."

Though the travel work force has declined in recent months, the industry expects to add 90,000 new American jobs due to modest gains in travel expected this year. U.S. Travel projects that 1.95 billion domestic person-trips will take place this year, up 2 percent from last year. International travels are expected to total 56.5 million this year, a 3 percent increase from 2009.

Event planners interested in attending the workshop on Saturday can register in advance by calling (229) 317-4760.