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Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $50 Million to Support Historic Growth of New York's Tourism Industry During Third Tourism Summit

Nov 18, 2015

Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $50 Million to Support Historic Growth of New York's Tourism Industry During Third Tourism Summit

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today hosted the third New York State Tourism Summit in Albany, where local and international tourism leaders met with State officials to explore new industry opportunities. At the summit, a commitment of $50 million was unveiled to promote statewide tourism, create jobs, and attract more visitors to every region of New York. This investment, which is one of the largest ever by the State, builds upon the historic investments in the tourism industry which generated a $100.1 billion economic impact in 2014.

“Tourism is vital to New York's economy – it creates jobs and opportunity in virtually every community across the state," said Governor Cuomo. “When people visit New York, they fall in love with all that our state has to offer and keep coming back. I am proud that our administration is continuing to play a leading role in supporting tourism across the state, and I look forward to seeing the industry and our economy thrive for years to come."

Lieutenant Governor Hochul said: “As a result of Governor Cuomo's historic investments, New York State continues to experience record-breaking tourism year after year. This can be attributed to the Governor's ambitious agenda that has helped resurrect our I Love New York campaign, create good paying jobs, and attract scores of visitors from the North Fork to Niagara Falls. It's no wonder that tourism generated over $100 billion dollars in economic impact last year alone. And with today's $50 million dollars in new investment, we will entice even more people to come see what New York has to offer."

The third New York State Tourism Summit brought hundreds of tourism experts to the Capitol to discuss innovative ideas and new ways to encourage travel to all 11 vacations regions of the State. As a result of the Governor's support of tourism, the industry has seen an increase in spending, state and local tax revenue, visitors and employment since 2011, and a record-breaking economic impact of $100.1 billion in 2014.

Last year, New York's tourism industry generated direct spending of $62.5 billion, producing $7.8 billion in state and local taxes. The number of visitors to New York increased by 8.2 million with nearly 227 million visitors in 2014. As New York's fourth largest employment sector, one out of every 12 jobs in New York is tourism-related. Data from 2014 show the tourism industry supported 867,900 jobs and generated more than $31 billion in wages.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said: “New York State's tourism industry has been reenergized under Governor Cuomo's leadership and the I LOVE NY campaign has been reborn. Today's summit highlights the tourism industry's incredible impact on job creation and revenue, and assists our hard-working state and local partners in promoting New York as a top destination."

During the morning session, the Governor announced a series of initiatives designed to build on the success of past summits. These initiatives will build on the Governor's commitment to further promote New York State as the tourism capital of the world. The Governor also unveiled the Tourism 2020 initiative which will envision and develop the next generation of New York State's tourism initiatives and infrastructure.

The Governor made the announcement at today's Tourism Summit via video conference. VIDEO of the Governor's announcement is available here.

In addition to increasing the state's annual investment in tourism, the Governor will continue to host successful events such as the Adirondack Winter and Summer Challenges, and the new Catskills challenge to bring together state and local officials, tourism industry representatives and outdoor enthusiasts to strengthen tourism in Upstate New York.

Increased Level of Tourism Funding: The State will invest nearly $50 million in tourism funding. This is more than $5 million compared to last year and includes tourism marketing, transportation promotion, international marketing, and funding for industry development.

Tourism Marketing Campaign: $25 million will be utilized for tourism marketing, featuring the I LOVE NY, Path Through History and Taste NY initiatives. The new marketing campaign will feature TV ads and other media at airports, on roads, on railways, on the web and on mobile devices to promote tourism opportunities throughout New York State. The very successful I Love New York television advertising campaign featuring actors and athletes from New York will continue into 2016.

Increased Transportation Access: A $4 million investment will be utilized to work with the Port Authority and MTA for opportunities to promote Upstate travel and make transportation information easily accessible for all travelers. The investment will also promote linkages from New York City via partners like car rental companies and bus and train operators to create transportation options in key areas where none exist.

Expand Global Tourism Markets: The Governor announced I LOVE NEW YORK will continue to expand its global reach through key markets in Australia and Puerto Rico. New York will create a Tourism Advisory Board in Australia, and host the first-ever Australia trade mission to bring New York travel representatives to meet with airline operators, travel media, and tour operators in Australia. In addition, announced during the Governor's Solidarity Mission to Puerto Rico, a $5 million joint I LOVE NY tourism ad campaign will be used to promote travel between New York and Puerto Rico. This investment will provide a unique opportunity for travelers to experience the beauty of both Puerto Rico and New York and maximize the newly opened “I Love New York Welcome Center" in Puerto Rico at the NYS Office of Trade and Tourism. New York will also promote Upstate and build awareness of New York's 11 regions through targeted marketing.

Winter Tourism Promotion: The weekend of January 16-18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend) will be a free snowmobiling weekend to encourage out-of-state and Canadian snowmobile enthusiasts to sled in New York State. State registration fees will be waived for properly registered and insured out-of-state snowmobiling enthusiasts wishing to explore New York's 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails. Information on snowmobiling, including online registration for out-of-state snowmobilers is available here.

President's Day weekend (February 13-14) will be a free ice fishing weekend to encourage more New Yorkers to try Ice fishing while many are on winter recess. Residents and visitors age 16 and older will be able to fish the fresh or marine waters of New York State without a license, providing a great opportunity for people to learn about this popular sport. More information is available here.

I LOVE NY is also entering a partnership with all five New York State AHL teams: Utica Comets, Rochester Americans, Albany Devils, Binghamton Senators and the Syracuse Crunch to increase economic impact of spectators at New York winter sporting events and expose sports fans to New York State winter getaway opportunities. New York State tourism destinations will be promoted at team games and events and the AHL schedule will be featured on I LOVE NY platforms.

Business Travel and Special Events: To maximize New York State's appeal to business travelers and event planners the State will: leverage corporate relationships to promote New York State through corporate travel departments to increase the number of meetings and conventions held in the state; engage concierges at New York City hotels, directly and through trade associates, to highlight daytrips and overnight getaways outside of Manhattan through the I LOVE NY Bus; and underwrite a percentage of costs incurred by municipalities or private entities who were successful in drawing new special events to New York State.

Lodging Development: A multi-agency, public-private workgroup will be convened to explore incentives and grant programs that would encourage investors and developers to create and improve lodging in areas where few facilities exist.

Outdoor Recreation Promotion: Working in partnership with Department of Parks and DEC, leverage New York's world-class parks and outdoor recreation facilities by promoting parks, trails and activities to nature lovers through targeted publications and websites.

Agri-Tourism and Heritage Tourism: Through the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and Taste NY, continue to build awareness of New York's agri-tourism industry through culinary tours and encourage the creation of additional farm visit programs for consumers.

Market NY: Funding for the Market NY program will be increased to $13 million. This funding allows tourism assets to make necessary improvements and launch strategic marketing campaigns to increase visitorship. The funding will be awarded through the regional economic development council process.

Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Jeff Klein said: “With so much to offer, New York State has always been a leader in the tourism industry, which continues to create jobs and spur over $100 billion in economic growth for communities throughout the state. Now, with the launch of the third Tourism Summit, we can look forward to a boom in our state's fourth-largest employment sector. I am proud to work with the Governor and my colleagues in the legislature to expand this critical industry and I look forward to all that we will accomplish moving forward."

Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie said: “Investing in New York's tourism industry will have immense long term benefits for our state and the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihood depend on it. I commend Governor Cuomo for these strategic and far-reaching campaigns and am confident they will aid in the continued growth and prosperity of New York's tourism industry."

Senator Betty Little, Chair of the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation Committee, said: “New York's tourism industry is a major pipeline for economic opportunity in the North Country and all across New York. Under Governor Cuomo, this state has developed a comprehensive strategy to continue attracting visitors to New York and generate a new economic life for local businesses and I am proud to take part in these efforts. I am thrilled about the progress that New York tourism has made and I look forward to continuing this partnership to keep this industry thriving."

Senator José M. Serrano said: "New York State is home to some of the most amazing tourist attractions in all of the world. The arts and tourism sector supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, while generating $100 billion in economic impact. Additionally, the arts provide countless educational and enrichment opportunities for students throughout our state. I applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for his steadfast commitment to tourism in New York. His allocation of $50 million to our tourism industry will ensure that this important sector remains vibrant and robust."

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Chair of the Assembly's Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, said: “The tourism industry is one of New York's premier economic engines and its growth is critical to the overall economic health of our state. New York has placed a renewed focus on finding and developing new ways to keep this industry thriving – and that is what today's summit is all about. I am proud to collaborate with the Governor and my colleagues and look forward to sharing new ideas to keep our success going."

Cristyne Nicholas, Chair of the NYS Tourism Advisory Council, said: “At our first tourism summit in 2013, Governor Cuomo outlined his vision to expand NYS tourism and today we are proud to show the results of that commitment. New York State tourism has grown to a $100 billion dollar industry and welcomed 227 million visitors, making New York State the world's premiere tourism destination."

Jan Marie Chesterton, President of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association said: “I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of lodging to the New York State tourism industry."

Gail Grimmett, Senior Vice-President, Delta said: “Business travel is vital to the success of our airline. We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to increase both domestic and international business travel for all of New York State."

Nancy Elder, Vice President of Communications, JetBlue said: "Governor Cuomo has done much to encourage and support tourism throughout the Empire State. As JetBlue expands our service this winter with new flights to Albany, our eighth New York destination, we greatly appreciate all his efforts to inspire travel and make it increasingly easier for guests to visit all corners of our vibrant state."

Scott Brandi, President of Ski Areas of New York, Inc. said: “Governor Cuomo's consistent support and promotion of winter tourism in New York State has been invaluable to the ski industry, not only in terms of increased visitation but also by enhancing our competitive position in the marketplace."

James McKenna, CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism/Lake Placid CVB said: “Thanks to the governor's support, including hosting tourism events like the Adirondack Challenges that highlight the region, tourism in the North Country has grown by leaps and bounds. His continued emphasis on growing markets for tourism, like promoting outdoor recreation and attracting high level amateur athletes and athletic events to New York, will continue to benefit the Adirondacks and the entire state."

Devin Lander, Executive Director, Museum Association of New York said: “From I Love New York television commercials to the Path Through History heritage tourism campaign, New York's museums have greatly benefited from Governor Cuomo's tourism efforts. The new initiatives announced at the Tourism Summit today will continue to shine the spotlight on New York's museums as a vital part of growing tourism in the state."

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks delivered at the tourism summit via video conference is available below:

Good morning. I am sorry I couldn't be with you in person today but I have obligations in other parts of the state that would have me arriving in Albany too late to be part of this summit. However, this effort is very important to me personally and to the economy of the state so I wanted to spend just a few moments with you to share some thoughts.

First, we have one the greatest products on the planet to market. It is the great state of New York. As much time as I travel around this state, which is more than probably almost any other human being, I am still amazed by its beauty, its depth and its variety. This past weekend I stole a couple of days and went to the North Country once again. The beauty of the Adirondacks is something I can never get enough of. Likewise, with the Catskills, the Finger Lakes, the Thousand Islands, Western New York, Tug Hill Plateau, every corner of the state has assets to market. So if we have the product, the question then becomes our ability to expose it and to tell the story. Overall, our efforts to promote tourism have worked extraordinarily well and they have broken longstanding records. It is something we should all be very proud of.

The upstate economy is on the rebound and one of the reasons is our advances in tourism. The upstate economy, long a continuing source of deterioration and sadness, is turning around. We have places in Upstate New York that are doing better than ever before. Now, here are some regions in upstate New York that are still on the comeback, that's true. But the simple truth is employment all across upstate New York is up. Unemployment is down, we have reversed this state's pattern of continually raising taxes, and we have stopped the mentality of exodus from our young people and our businesses. We focused on upstate like a laser beam and the bottom line is this state has more private sector jobs that it has ever had before in its history. Having said that there is still more that we can do.

The specific area of tourism has been long overlooked by the state and over these past few years we have rejuvenated the concept and its application. During this conference I hope you focus on developing new, creative partnerships that maximize the synergy of other developments within your part of the state. For example, our wine and beer industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Whereas before the state had several wine trials, now, almost every region in the state has an exciting burgeoning world of wineries, distilleries, breweries, and cideries that are attractive travel destinations. There are marriages to be made between these new businesses and tourism potential. The state's agricultural system is also breaking new ground with organic and natural food production – another potential for tourism.

New Yorkers, like most Americans, are thinking of ways to improve their health and there is nothing like exercising in the great outdoors. Whether it's hiking, skiing, or snowmobiling. New York offers untold opportunities.

The model of tourism must also be rethought. A town, village, city or county to maximize its true tourism potential should join with other facilities within the region because at the end of the day, if you study what regions are doing best, they are the regions that offer several attractions and a variety of attractions in that region. They are the regions that are attracting the largest number of visitors.

Our first target of opportunity and a continuing focus for the state's effort has been the 50 million international tourists who visit New York City every year. New York City is one of the greatest tourist attractions on the planet and it should be. Our goal has been to also advertise the rest of the state. Come to New York City, enjoy New York City, but by the way, come and see Long island, come and see the Finger Lakes, come see Upstate. That 50 million tourists in New York City is a target of opportunity. If just 5, 10, or 20 percent of the visitors who are going to New York City traveled north or east it would make a dramatic difference on the tourism marketplace.

Probably the single greatest effort thus far has been the recreation of the I love New York advertising campaign. I Love New York was at one time an icon for this state. Like so many others, it fell into disrepair. We have recreated it and it was a major investment by the State of New York. I credit the New York State Legislature on both sides – both the Assembly and the Senate – for having the foresight to invest in tourism advertising and they invested significantly. Over 100 million dollars was invested by the State of New York to advertise potential and that was potential primarily of Upstate New York. Well I am pleased to say that investment by the State of New York has reaped untold dividends.

A $100 million investment in advertising and an $8 billion increase in revenue for the State of New York in tourism. Now, if we can get a return on investment where $100 million increases revenue 8 billion dollars a day, I would do that every day. Therefore, I am going to recommend to the Legislature next year that we increase the advertising budget for this coming year from 45 to 50 million dollars, because we know we are making money with that advertising. We are also increasing our marketing efforts internationally, focusing on countries with travel potential especially now in Australia, China and Puerto Rico, where we just opened an office.

Any way I can help personally or my administration can help personally to expedite regional synergies to make state government work better or faster. If one of the agencies is a roadblock, let us know. Or, if you want us to participate in creative events to help generate press attention, let us know. We have created and participated in a number of tourism-related events to generate publicity. We have the Adirondack Challenge, the White Water Challenge every year, which I am still pleased to report I am undefeated in, in our raft. Of course, we're also the timekeeper. This year we will also be hosting the Catskill Challenge. We snowmobile, we snow ski, we hike, we fish, or we try to fish. So any way we can personally bring attention to the region – that would be our pleasure.

Some of my best days in this job is when I get to speak from the heart about what I love and I love Upstate New York and all this great state has to offer. I also love what we've been able to do upstate and the progress we've made and seeing the smiles on faces of people Upstate, where before all we saw were frowns. So good luck, maximize the benefit of this conference, network, figure out how to be more creative, more synergies, more volume, more tourism, more jobs, more revenue for the State of New York. I will see you soon. Thank you.