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National magazine lists Albany as one of South's top event destinations

“We strive to create an experience for our conference attendees that will leave them wanting to return as a visitor,” remarked Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau Manager Rashelle Beasley upon learning that Albany will be listed as one of the “South’s Surprising Recreational Havens for Groups” in ConventionSouth’s upcoming November issue. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

“We strive to create an experience for our conference attendees that will leave them wanting to return as a visitor,” remarked Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau Manager Rashelle Beasley upon learning that Albany will be listed as one of the “South’s Surprising Recreational Havens for Groups” in ConventionSouth’s upcoming November issue. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

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As part of what helped Albany make the list of ConventionSouth’s upcoming list of the “South’s Surprising Recreational Havens for Groups,” this trio is waiting to greet visitors to Albany’s Flint RiverQuarium. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

ALBANY — Meeting and event planners across the country now know that Albany, GA has become one of the South’s top destinations for hosting corporate events, meetings, conventions and seminars.

ConventionSouth magazine, a national multimedia resource for planning events in the South, has officially placed Albany on the publication’s inaugural 2014 list of the “South’s Surprising Recreational Havens for Groups.” The list will appear in the magazine’s November issue.

“It’s an honor for Albany to be included in this list,” said Albany Conventions and Visitors Bureau Manager Rashelle Beasley. “We are blessed to have wonderful sporting venues, attractions, events and hotels.”

Albany joins 12 other cities, counties and regions from the Southern United States on the list, including Palm Beach County, Fla., Pinehurst, N.C., Annapolis, Md., Kingsport, Tenn., Plano, Texas, Chesapeake, Va., Wichita Falls, Texas, Seminole County, Fla., Jefferson Parish, La., Auburn, Ala. and Columbia County, Ga.

“To be one of only two in the state of Georgia listed and being ranked with Auburn, Ala., is an honor for us,” Beasley added. “It’s a great for the entire city.”

To develop the list ConventionSouth editors researched cities throughout the South, making selections based on each cities’ recreational offerings, area attractions, meeting venues and group accommodations. According to Beasley, Albany was distinguished from other areas in the region based not only on what Albany had to offer, but by the way things are offered.

“We’re a small city with big city attractions,” Beasley said. “We have great meeting spaces. We offer a multitude of classroom settings, exhibit spaces and locations to host receptions, all within walking distance.”

Beasley pointed out that event planners wanting to locate their functions in Albany have the option of using downtown meeting spaces at the Convention and Visitors Center office, the Hilton Garden Inn, the Albany Civic Center, or at nearby locations such as Merry Acres Inn and the convention center at Cheehaw. She also added that if a group was looking for a space to host a reception there was also The Flint RiverQuarium and Thronateeska Heritage Center.

“All of these places gives planners a different setting for each event,” said Beasley. ” We’re very diversified.”

In addition to the various meeting spaces, Albany has a variety of entertainment attractions prospective event planners look for in choosing an area. Along with the Thronateeska Heritage Center and Planetarium, Cheehaw Park, and the RiverQuarium, Albany also has the Albany Civil Rights Institute and Riverfront Park. In addition, Albany also offers an abundance of outdoor activities such as golfing, hiking and water sports.

This year’s list of the “South’s Surprising Recreational Havens for Groups” is the first for ConventionSouth, with the editors planning on publishing the list annually, beginning with the November 2013 edition.

“ConventionSouth’s list provides meeting and event organizers from across the county interesting insight on some of the South’s most unique cities for recreational fun,” said ConventionSouth Editor Marlane Bundock. “Cities with diverse recreational offerings bring an added layer of enjoyment to a meeting or event. This allows meeting planners to create unique themes during their events, infuse team building and networking activities into their events, and increase attendance and attendee engagement.”

With 30 years in publication, ConventionSouth, based in Gulf Shores, Ala is circulated to more than 18,000 meeting professionals across the county that book meetings held within the south and is considered one of the industry’s most prominent event guides.

“ConventionSouth is big deal in our industry,” Beasley said. “This publication is like Sports Illustrated for convention centers and meeting planners.”