Albany CVB plans tours during national tourism week

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with more than 100 cities nationwide, is hosting -- along with its hospitality industry partners -- activities in recognition of National Travel & Tourism Week, which runs through Sunday.

The 30th annual weeklong celebration gives the hospitality industry an opportunity to show support for the jobs and economic impact created by visitors to Albany.

"Travel supports 14.6 million jobs across the nation, including 2,020 right here in Dougherty County," Albany CVB Director Rashelle Beasley said.

On Monday, the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau will host a Hospitality Appreciation Luncheon at the Albany Welcome Center. The invitation-only luncheon will recognize the hoteliers, attraction personnel, restaurateurs and other community leaders who support and volunteer with the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau throughout the year.

Following the luncheon, a proclamation signing at the mayor's office will recognize May 4-12 as National Travel & Tourism Week and pay tribute to the impact the hospitality and travel industry has on Albany and Dougherty County.

On Saturday, the CVB will host the Discover Albany Tours and Hospitality Expo. Beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing throughout the day, the CVB will conduct two of its signature tours -- the African American Heritage and Paula Deen tours -- as well as the Historic Albany Tour. Reservations are free, but required, and seats are limited.

Also on Saturday, a Hospitality Expo, which will showcase local hospitality offerings to residents and visitors, will take place in Riverfront Park from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Attendees can enjoy food, music and prizes.

"Travel is a force that can drive our nation's economic recovery. It is one of the healthiest sectors in terms of job creation and hiring, employing one out of every eight Americans," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of US Travel, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel and tourism generated $2 trillion in economic output for the country's economy in 2012. The industry also represents one of America's largest employers, supporting 14.6 million jobs (including 7.7 million directly in the travel industry and 6.9 million in associated industries). Direct spending by domestic and international travelers averages $2.3 billion a day, $97.7 million an hour, $1.6 million a minute, and $25,125 a second.

Locally, tourists who visited Dougherty County spent $198.46 million in 2012, creating $7.53 million in tax revenue and $5.84 million in local tax revenue. On an average day in Dougherty County, tourists spend $543,726 on tourism-related expenses.

"This is a big week for us," Beasley said. "Our goal this week is to not only promote the impact our hotels, attractions, retailers and restaurants have on our local economy, but to recognize them on a personal level for their continued support and encouragement of the CVB."