albany.jpgALBANY, NY - This year Memorial Day Weekend in the Capital Region was a weekend to remember as conferences brought in well over $3 million in direct spending to the area.  Over the weekend Albany County hosted some very large meeting and convention groups that included the National Catholic Forensic League, the National Police Athletic League and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The value of this business was huge and is reflected directly in dollars spent at hotels, restaurants, travel to and from Albany, as well as other direct expenditures including food, meeting materials, venue rentals, ground transportation, entertainment and more. The National Catholic Forensic League hosted their Grand National Tournament that included 2,500 participants and a total of 4,000 guests to Albany throughout the Memorial Weekend.  The group realized 3,800 hotel room nights at 17 Albany County hotels. In addition, they booked 2 advance Duck and Trolley tours for 126 people, purchased ground transportation through Brown Transportation, and utilized 7 venues including the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, St. Mary's Church, and 4 local schools.  The group also purchased 2,191 box lunches through Old Daley Inn catering as well as a myriad of other direct expenditures throughout the region to ensure the success of this event. John O'Donnell, CEO of the Albany International Airport said, "We received a record day of passengers because of all the participants in the national speech and debate tournament. It was great to see so many families traveling from all over the country to Albany for this event." The National Police Athletic League hosted their 65th Annual Conference & Training Seminar at the Crowne Plaza Albany Hotel, May 26-30, and realized more than 600 hotel room nights for their conference of 350 attendees. The group visited many attractions during their stay including, cruises on the Hudson and Lake George, a bus tour to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, as well as shopping at Crossgates Mall, Colonie Center and Stuyvesant Plaza. They also hosted a golf tournament at Capitol Hills and enjoyed a downtown restaurant dine around. Sgt Lenny Ricchiuti, executive director of Albany PAL said, "This was our best conference ever and it was such a pleasure to introduce our PAL colleagues to all the many treasures of Albany." The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education hosted a national security and emergency management training exercise in Albany, May 31-June 4.  The group of 850 staying at 4 hotels realized 1,500 hotel room nights throughout the area.  They rented the Albany County Hockey Facility for all of their training exercises, office equipment from Technology Rentals, and they ordered 420 box meals from Sodexho Gourmet Catering throughout the week amongst other expenditures.  While some attendees were locally based, others came from all over the world to learn emergency disaster management techniques.  Overall travel and tourism expenditures in Albany County in 2008 were $908,683,000, a 4.9% increase over the previous year.  Hospitality employment in Albany County accounts for 16,373 jobs and returns $61,309,000 in local taxes.  The Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau continues its work to attract and bring in large groups to the Capital Region to benefit the economy.

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Contact:                                 Michele Vennard, President/CEO Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau mvennard@albany.org / (518)434-1217 x300