Nov 12, 2021
Let me open this brief note by acknowledging the outstanding individual and collaborative efforts of our members! Since New York Pause transitioned to New York Forward in May of 2020, you have all run a marketing marathon - an uphill one - to successfully restore vitality to your destinations.
The race to recovery is not over, but the indications are both inspiring and encouraging. In fact, as I am writing this note I received a Travel Weekly article noting:
In 2019, the U.S. travel and tourism sector GDP contribution represented nearly $1.9 trillion, or 8.6% of the U.S. economy, and fell to $1.1 trillion in 2020, when the pandemic brought international travel to an almost complete standstill. The WTTC found that the U.S. tourism sector could grow by 35.6% in 2021, outpacing the overall global tourism recovery, which is set to see a 30.7% year-over-year increase in 2021."
As I have stated before, I have no doubt that with international borders reopening the New York City travel economy will come roaring back and recovery in the world's greatest destination city will exceed expectations. Nevertheless, we all have much at stake in New York City's recovery and we need to support I LOVE New York and NYC & Company in their respective efforts.
What encourages me the most regarding upstate New York is the opportunity to rebound in a truly transformative manner, reflecting a paradigm shift in perceptions regarding upstate New York and ushering in a sustained period of growth further supported by new and expanded tourism assets:
- Our pandemic experience - we welcomed many new visitors in 2020 and 2021 who for the first time explored their 'backyard' and discovered that they do indeed LOVE ALL of New York, not just New York City. We need to be sure they come back in 2022, 2023 and beyond.
- The enormous upside potential in major, new or recently added, diverse tourism assets in upstate (National Comedy Center, 750 mile Empire State Trail, LEGOLAND NY Resort, proposed National Marine Sanctuary anticipated in late 2022, game changing expansion at the Strong National Museum of Play completion in 2023). These and other planned developments will fuel a decade (or more) of growth if we market effectively and collaboratively.
- Leadership from a chief executive in Albany who fully appreciates not only the value of tourism to New York State's economic vitality, cultural life and pride of place... but also understands the state and local partnership necessary to move forward with unity of purpose. We are blessed to have Governor Hochul at the helm.
If you wondered whether our efforts to promote staycations and instate exploration have had any effect - see the links below and you'll appreciate one example of the press attention we are getting!
They all are from ONE SUNDAY EDITION of the Times Union, our capital city newspaper. Not only that, but they are written by four different journalists, writing for four different departments and appeared as the lead articles in four different sections (including PAGE 1):
- "Klarisse Torrriente is the first Black summit steward fo the Adirondack Mountain Club. She hopes to encourage other Black, Indigenous and people of color to enjoy the outdoors." PAGE 1 NEWS / Adirondacks
- A visit to 'Sleepy Hollow' author's home BOOKS / Westchester County
- Kinderhook's treasures close by TRAVEL / Columbia County
- Road trip! The most scenic, historic Hudson Valley drive AUTO SHOW SECTION / Hudson Valley
"Governor Hochul understands the pivotal role that tourism plays in economic development, job creation, community revitalization, quality of life and pride of place." observes NYSTIA President Bob Provost. "On Monday, November 8th she took bold action to demonstrate that with a $450 million dollar recovery package. Her leadership as New York's chief executive is already building the momentum of New York's recovery from the pandemic and contributing to a robust future for New York's tourism industry".