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Data show tourism thriving in Albany

Rashelle Beasley

Rashelle Beasley

From Merriam-Webster's online dictionary: Tourism is defined as the promotion or encouragement of touring.

Tourism in Albany may seem extinct to locals, but it's thriving within the hospitality industry. Albany is seen as a jewel, the center of Southwest Georgia to industry leaders and visitors who select Albany as their destination. Viewing Albany with open eyes, they see the beauty, culture and excitement of the Good Life City.

This week is National Travel and Tourism Week, and the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau is celebrating the occasion by showcasing the impact of the U.S. travel industry and its ability to affect our economy.

Travel and tourism is one of America's largest industries, contributing $1.9 trillion to our economy and supporting 14.4 million American jobs. In 2011, it delivered $124 billion in tax revenues. In fact, without travel and tourism's contribution to the tax base, each household would be taxed an additional $1,000 per year.

But that's nationally; the question is what does that mean for Albany? It means a lot. The hospitality industry employees 1,980 people in Albany. That's right behind Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and the Dougherty County School System. That's your hotels, your attractions, your restaurants, your shops.

The latest data from the State of Georgia's Department of Economic Development and Tourism report that Dougherty County generated more than $184 million in expenditures related to domestic travel. The local tax receipts amounted to $5.56 million.

Every day the Albany Welcome Center receives dozens of visitors coming through its doors. Some would think it peaks during the summer, but because of our location and consistent climate, we are the ideal travel destination year-round. In 2011, the Welcome Center recorded 14,000 visitors in our sign-in book. In comparison to the first quarter, 2012 is already higher than last year. Currently, 6,000 visitors have signed in.

Tourists come in many different ways -- motorcoaches, sporting events, conventions and meetings. And the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau is here to welcome, direct and show each visitor the Southern hospitality we are known for.

Motorcoaches are attracted to our Paula Deen, Sherwood Pictures, historic, agritourism and culinary tours. Each tour is specifically designed to meet the needs of the motorcoach operator. The Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau designs itineraries for sporting events, conventions and meetings not only for participants in the tournaments or conferences, but also for their additional guests, highlighting the attributes of our city.

To attract motorcoaches, sporting events, conventions and meetings, your Convention and Visitors Bureau is actively promoting Albany at local, state and national industry conferences. We also partner with local civic clubs, organizations or professional development groups to host regional, state and national conferences in Albany.

Tourism also comes in the form of family reunions. Throughout the year, families return home to reminisce and visit the additions to the city they called home, bringing with them family members who have never visited Albany. The Convention and Visitors Bureau works with our attractions and hoteliers to accommodate each reunion so they can have a tailored, unique experience.

Having a state-of-the-art planetarium, an AZA-accredited zoo, a civil rights institute, a unique fresh-water aquarium, a fast-paced racetrack, one of Georgia's wonders, the finest sub-Saharan African art in the southeast and the only regional information center in the Plantation Trace region ... tourism will always have a positive impact on the community and local economy.

Rashelle Beasley is the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau's manager. She has been with the Convention and Visitors Bureau for three and half years.

Comments

reb_arty1863 1 year, 11 months ago

data compiled by whom???? I would like to check the data source. Slappey and Oglethorpe are just clogged by tourists wishing to view our new welcome signs.

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Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

The tourism data was compiled by the same folks who do the tax reappraisals and warned us of our inflating property values. They are somehow related to the folks who keep telling us about the bountiful economic recovery that we are enjoying. I think they are currently working on a glowing report on the efficiency and integrity of the DCSS administration and its board.

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Shinedownfan 1 year, 11 months ago

And don't forget how safe the city/county is...

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BettyBowTie 1 year, 11 months ago

Yep, ask the elderly lady on Lynwood Lane about how safe she feels after being beaten up at her front door. This town is a bad joke.

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BettyBowTie 1 year, 11 months ago

View any statistic coming from the city with a jaded eye. All spin.

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BettyBowTie 1 year, 11 months ago

"Viewing Albany with open eyes, they see the beauty, culture and excitement of the Good Life City."

What are you kidding me? Are they blind, lol???

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BettyBowTie 1 year, 11 months ago

We tear down all our historic buildings and structures which leaves the culture part a bit lacking I would say. We USED to be special, not special in a good way now.

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myside 1 year, 11 months ago

This is, without a doubt, an article that shows the person writing it knows nothing of which she speaks. She does not let truth, actuality, or conscious reporting mess up with her writings..

Look for future articles promoting the achievements of Supt Murfee, the low crime rate, and the total lack of gang activity in Albany.

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LoneCycler 1 year, 11 months ago

What do people expect the woman to say about Albany? it's horrible and you should leave as soon as possible? I spent the past weekend in LaGrange, Georgia. It’s a town smaller than Albany but is seemingly doing much better than Albany. Materially I don’t see how it has anything that Albany doesn’t have. It’s got West Point Lake, but we have Lake Worth (Chehaw). LaGrange has a fine hospital with its West Georgia Health Center, we have Phoebe Putney. LaGrange has a fine college; we’ve got a State University. They have a Kia Motors production plant; we’ve got P&G, Miller Brewing and the Marine Base – more jobs in manufacturing. They have crime too. When I was there somebody was robbed, somebody else was mugged and somebody else was arrested for dealing drugs. We’ve got all these things but LaGrange is a much nicer town. Just go downtown and try to find a place to park on Saturday and see what I mean. It’s packed and no, there wasn’t some special event going on. Apparently it’s like that every weekend – even when it rains. Somebody like Ms. Beasley needs to pay a visit to LaGrange, find out what their community has or is doing that we don’t have or do. Maybe it’s just their location or some other simple reason. The Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce should send someone up there to have a look around and see if anything can be replicated here in Albany.

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