Free Tours for Alexandria Residents In Recognition of National Travel & Tourism Week April 26, 2013

National Tourism WeekThe Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association and its members invite City of Alexandria residents to be tourists in their own hometown with an array of free tours on Friday, May 10, 2013, in recognition of National Travel & Tourism Week.

The ACVA is partnering with 10 tour companies and attractions to offer free tours and admission throughout the day on Friday, May 10, with online registration at These tours include:


SOLD OUT History of Old Town Walking Tour: Carolyn Cooper, owner of Old Town Experience tour company and Old Town resident, leads a 90-minute walking tour of Old Town. The tour starts at 10:30 a.m., leaving from the gardens of the Alexandria Visitors Center at Ramsay House.


SOLD OUT Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat: Special thanks to Bike and Roll, Potomac Riverboat Company and Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens. This self-guided tour includes the bike rental, admission to Mount Vernon and return boat ride aboard the Miss Christin. Bikes available between 10 and 11 a.m. at Bike and Roll Alexandria. Return boat departs Mount Vernon at 4 p.m.; arrives in Alexandria at 5:30 p.m.

The Old Town Boutique District's Insider Tips: Amy Rutherford, owner of Red Barn Mercantile and expert on vintage finds, leads a tour of the shops of the Old Town Boutique District and at each shop, shares an insider's tip from the owner. The tour starts at 11 a.m. at Hooray for Books.

Torpedo Factory Art Center Tour: The Torpedo Factory's CEO Eric Wallner leads a tour at of artists' studios at 12 noon. Meet at the information desk near the Union Street entrance.

SOLD OUT Alexandria's Original Ghost & Graveyard Tour: Learn about Alexandria's spookier residents with the popular ghost tours, when costumed guides lead you by lantern light telling you ghost stories, legends and folklore, courtesy of Alexandria Colonial Tours. Two times are available: tours leave the gardens of the Alexandria Visitors Center at 7:30 and 9 p.m.

Free Tours at Historic Sites Gadsby's Tavern Museum, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, Carlyle House and Lee-Fendall House.

Admission to the historic sites does not require a reservation. Proof of residency may be requested.

Just Added! Exclusive Tour - Special Date, Saturday, May 11:
Alexandria's African-American Heritage along the Duke Street Corridor. On Saturday, May 11, historian C.R. Gibbs will discuss Alexandria's African-American Heritage and the historic sites to be found along the Duke Street corridor. Mr. Gibbs is an author and lecturer of international renown who has worked with the Smithsonian, the History Channel, and Howard University. This special tour, organized exclusively for Tourism Week, will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at the gazebo in Alexandria's African-American Heritage Park, at the corner of Holland Lane and Jamieson Avenue.

ACVA and its partners know that Alexandria's residents are the city's most influential ambassadors. With 64 percent of visitors saying they are here to visit friends and relatives, Alexandria's residents are often tour guides in their own right.

With Alexandria attractions eager to welcome the city's residents on this day, more tour options will be added to the roster shortly.

"We are fortunate to live in a city with an abundance of history, culture, fun, enriching activities and a passionate community of residents and small business owners who make Alexandria a premiere destination," said Patricia Washington, ACVA's president & CEO. "The things that residents love about Alexandria are irresistible to travelers, too. We greatly appreciate the continuing support that Alexandria's residents show for tourism and we are excited for them to get to enjoy the city a little differently for a day."

Tourism is a key economic driver for the city, supporting the city's many small businesses and the quality of life for residents. $711 million in annual visitor spending generates $23 million in taxes which supports needed city services. City revenue from visitors equals 7 cents of real property tax and the industry supports 6,067 local jobs.

Tours are available by reservation only on a first-come basis with limited quantities. For reservations, go to

About the Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association
The Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association (ACVA) has as its mission to promote a healthy, dynamic, growing economy through tourism marketing. Tourism contributes both to the economic health of the City and quality of life for its residents.

About National Tourism & Travel Week
The first full week of May has been annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week since 1984 with events organized across the country championing the power of tourism. Organized by the National Travel Association, which has as its mission to increase travel to and within the US, the week's message is the impact of the travel industry:
• 14.6 million jobs are supported by travel expenditures (includes 7.7 million directly in the travel industry and 6.9 million in other industries)
• Travel ranks as No. 1 among all US industry exports
• Each U.S. household would pay $1,060 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by travel and tourism.