Conventions are boosting Albany's revenue, helping taxpayers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Conventions are boosting Albany's revenue, helping taxpayers

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Albany visitors have made a 10.7 million dollar impact on our economy this year.

Leaders at the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau are happy with that number.

But they're working to bring even more conventions to town, including one just confirmed for 2013.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo took Merry Acres' occupancy rate from a handful to sold out yesterday and tonight. They're glad to hear more convention and meeting opportunities are at the top of the Convention and Visitors Bureau's list.

"It's putting more money into our local economy and that's what it's all about," said Bo Henry, Merry Acres Owner.

They've just secured the joint meeting of the Georgia Firefighters Association and Georgia Fire Chiefs Association for 2013.

"That will be 400 people here on the peak days for four days of the conference and on the shoulder days of the conference there will be around 200 people," said Liz Gray, Albany Convention and Visitor's Bureau Public Relations Director.

It's the biggest conference in the past couple of years and promises to bring more than just firefighters to south Georgia.

"The firefighters association, fire chief's association of Georgia plan on bringing their families with them to go to attractions and have women's activities, and children's activities to do," said Gray.

Hotel and restaurant owners say that's money in the community's pocket.

"It helps any business in town just because of some of the family members might be shopping, people are going to eat, people are going to buy gas, so it helps all facets of business in town when people come from out of town," said Henry.

With the Gordon Sports Complex renovated Parks and recreation is also planning for a big softball tournament that promises to bring up to 16 teams and their families in March.

"If they're buying something, there's a SPLOST Tax they're contributing to it, it's not just the local people contributing to our economy," said Henry.

What's selling Albany is our affordability and ease of traffic. Convention and Visitors Bureau officials say it's an easy sell that paying off for Albany.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau works years in advance booking big conventions, and say they're working on conferences now for 2016.

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