SIAC tournament a score for Albany's economy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SIAC tournament a score for Albany's economy

March 05, 2004

Albany -- It's a week long event that's pumping over a million dollars into Albany's economy. The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball tournaments will wrap up tomorrow, but and hotels and retailers are still cashing in.

Although the sign outside says Sleep Inn Hotel workers inside say since the SIAC tournament rolled into town there hasn't been much time for sleep but they aren't complaining. "Business has been fantastic,"says Jaye Lomax director of marketing Sleep Inn. "We are hoping if Morehouse wins we will be selling out tomorrow,"says Lomax.

The thousands of visitors in town aren't just filling beds they're also emptying wallets all over Albany spending at shops, popular eateries all while soaking up only what South Georgia can offer.

"It's a great place to eat and we love to walk down the streets and pick up plenty of pecans,"says Atlanta tourist Joseph Wingfield.

With more than three thousand fans in town the tournament is yet another test of the ability of downtown merchants to appeal to the taste and the dollars of big city tourists.

"When you're used to having activities and you come to another town that you are going to look for somewhere to go and something to do,"says event planner Kay Lamb.

Kay Lamb ,says planning city events and festivals like the Mardi Gras celebration around big tourist events is smart business and a good way for the city to capitalize on its ongoing development.

"When you get together and try do activities, doing things for families is most important,"says Lamb.

Strategy the city plans to learn quickly as it works to become a popular tourist destination.

Fans in town this week are expected to pump about 1.5 million dollar impact on the city's economy.

posted at 5:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com