ALBANY, N.Y. -- Albany is gearing for the 400th anniversary of its discovery by Dutch explorer Henry Hudson by hosting visitors from throughout the United States, Canada and Europe as they learn more about the area. “Albany is one of the most historically rich areas in the Hudson Valley,” said Michele Vennard, President and CEO of the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACCVB) “To share our history, traditions and all there is to see and do in the Capital Region, we have participated in a number of activities to spread the word that Albany is an amazing discovery,” she said. Among the recent visitors to Albany is Arjan Leenhouts, a writer for the GPD Newspapers in the Netherlands and Reisrevue travel trade magazine with a total circulation of 1.4 million readers. During his stay in Albany, Mr. Leenhouts spent time learning about Albany’s Dutch roots that included tours the First Church of Albany (Dutch Reformed) and dined in the Quackenbush House, now home to the Le Canard Enchaine Brassiere Restaurant and located in one of Albany's oldest buildings -- a Dutch urban structure dating back to the early 1700s. Other points of interest on his itinerary were the Albany Institute of History and Art, where he learned about plans for their Hudson 400 special exhibit, as well as tours of Crailo State Historic Site and the Knickerbocker Mansion in Schaghticoke. He left Albany to tour more Dutch sites in the Hudson Valley en route to New York City where he stepped aboard the Half Moon. Canadian writer and photo journalist Sherel Purcell visited Albany in October and has already posted a photo essay highlighting Albany on www.about.com and more coverage is anticipated. Another on line article on www.sogonow.com appeared in October, highlighting Albany as a great girlfriends getaway weekend. This was the result of a writer from New Jersey visiting earlier this year. Albany was featured in a cooperative Capital Saratoga Region and I Love New York familiarization tour for companies from the United States and Canada. The 17 tour operators began their visit to Albany aboard the Albany Aqua Ducks, followed by a reception at the Albany Institute of History and Art. Trips to the New York State Museum, a tour of the State Capitol, and a visit to the chapel at Oakwood Cemetery were also part of the Albany experience before the group left for Schenectady and Saratoga Springs. Albany also welcomed a second familiarization tour organized by I Love New York, in conjunction with the Receptive Services Association of North America. (RSAA). The RSAA is a non-profit trade association for receptive tour operators and suppliers to the inbound, international travel industry, primarily from Europe. After seeing Albany, the group visited Lake George/Bolton Landing, Blue Mountain Lake, Lake Placid and Saratoga Springs. Both I Love New York tours continue Albany’s outreach to groups in light of the American Bus Association’s (ABA) designating Albany’s “Hudson 400th Celebration of Discovery” number one on its list of Top 100 events in North America for 2009. The ABA’s Top 100 Events in North America is an annual compendium of the best events for group travel in the United States and Canada. Winners are chosen from hundreds of submissions for celebrations, festivals, fairs, commemorative events and more. *** 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, Henry Hudson Planetarium and the Albany International Airport Information Center. For more information, call 518-434-1217 or 800-258-3582 and/or visit www.albany.org.
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Michele Vennard, President and CEO