ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau joined more than 50 cities across the nation Tuesday with a morning rally at the Albany Welcome Center that highlighted travel as a revenue generator and job provider.
"Travel and tourism support 14 million jobs across the nation, including many right here in Albany," Albany CVB Director Lisa Riddle said. "We are rallying today to celebrate every worker in our community who depends on travel for his or her livelihood, and we are letting our elected officials and local citizens know that travel matters to Albany."
Travel and tourism is a $172 million industry for Albany, providing more than 2,000 jobs and generating $38.8 million in payrolls and an additional $5.35 million in local tax revenue.
Travel is a broad and diverse industry employing a vast workforce, from airline and hotel employees to restaurant and attraction workers. But it also supports workers in other industry sectors, such as construction, manufacturing and finance.
"If it weren't for travel and tourism, every family in Albany would pay and additional $1,000 worth of taxes each year," Albany Area Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Catherine Glover said.
Travel and tourism generated $1.8 trillion in economic output for the U.S. economy in 2010. The industry also represents one of the nation's largest employers, supporting 14.1 million jobs -- including 7.4 million directly in the travel industry and 6.7 in related industries.
Direct spending by domestic and international travelers averaged more than $2 billion per day.
"Travel is a force in America's economy that is simply too important to be ignored," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
The association projects nearly 2 billion domestic trips by Americans this year, up by about 2 percent over last year.
The local CVB also rolled a new fleet of rental bicycles that are now available to visitors at the Welcome Center.
Four-hour rentals (bike, lock and helmet) are $10 per bike, while all-day rentals are $15.