nystva-logo.JPGAlbany, N.Y. - The Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACCVB) is pleased to welcome the annual Empire State Tourism Conference to Albany. The conference, to be held March 1-3, 2011, at the Albany Wolf Road Marriott Hotel will bring over 200 New York State tourism professionals together.  Wednesday morning conference kick-off speaker will be New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy. Duffy is slated to address the group at 8:15 am. This year's conference theme is: "Set Sail for Success: Surviving and thriving in rough economic waters."  In 2009, visitors to New York State spent $45.8 billion totaling nearly $7 billion in state and local taxes. According to independent research studies: tourism plays a critical role for the upstate economy, sustaining 455,000 jobs and $17.5 billion in direct revenue. One in 13 private sector jobs in the state are sustained by tourism. Overall travel and tourism visitor expenditures in Albany County alone in 2009 were $797,865,000.  Hospitality employment in Albany County accounts for over 16,000 jobs and returns over $103,000,000 in state and local taxes. The Empire State Tourism Conference will be comprised of timely education and networking sessions, and the peer-generated 2011 Tourism Excellence Awards. Seminar topics will include Integrated Customer Service, Digital PR Strategies; Social Media and Digital Marketing; Festivals and Events, Market Segmentation and the Importance of Community Image and Reputation, Utilizing Web Stats, and the Role of Boards of Directors. In addition, for the first time, the Empire State Tourism Conference is being held in conjunction with the tourism industry's annual Tourism Action Day in Albany, set for March 1st. Eighteen associations - who represent tourism venues on key legislative and regulatory issues - will host the Tourism Action Day at the Hart Lounge, in the Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York. A luncheon will begin with remarks by industry and legislative leaders, and representatives from tourism businesses and promotion agencies to legislators, to discuss how important tourism is to our local economies. The Empire State Tourism Conference is planned and hosted by the New York State Travel and Vacation Association (NYSTVA). NYSTVA represents diverse aspects of the tourism industry, including Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, Tourism Promotion Agencies and owners and employees of lodging properties, attractions and restaurants. Complete conference details - including a registration link and lodging reservation links - are available at http://www.empirestatetourism.com/.                                                                       ### The Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. was established in 1976 to promote the civic and commercial progress of the community through increased development of conventions and tourism. ACCVB currently represents more than 300 member businesses and assists each year in hundreds of regional meetings. ACCVB also operates the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, the Henry Hudson Planetarium and the Albany International Airport Information Center. For more information, call 518-434-1217 or 800-258-3582 and/or visit http://www.albany.org/ Contact Information:                                                                            Elizabeth Bovill, Marketing/PR Manager, ACCVB, (518) 434-1217 x203, ebovill@albany.org Suzanne Bixby, Conference Committee Chairperson, (315) 771-7778 (cell), suzanne@nycampgrounds.com  Jim Walter, NYSTVA President/Executive Director of Madison County Tourism, (315) 684-7320, jwalter@madisontourism.com