Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today hosted New York State's second Tourism Summit. Building on last year's unprecedented support, the Governor announced the state's commitment of $45 million to promote statewide tourism, create jobs, and attract even more visitors to the Empire State. This 50 percent increase in state funding over the last year gives New York one of the largest state-funded tourism programs in the nation. The Governor also unveiled a new tourism advertising campaign featuring Ed Burns, Steve Buscemi, Billy Joel, Robert De Niro, Michael Strahan, Meryl Streep and Vanessa Williams. The ads can be found on YouTube here.
"Tourism has been a central part of New York's success in the past, and with world-class destinations and attractions in every region of the State we have the potential for unparalleled growth in the future," Governor Cuomo said. "Last year, nearly nine million more visitors came to New York than the year before, $7.5 billion in local and state taxes were generated, and we expect close to $60 billion in direct spending. Tourism plays an integral role in the economy, and we will continue our work to make sure it thrives, creates jobs and generates new economic opportunities for our state."
The second New York State Tourism Summit was hosted at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the third most visited family attraction in the country. Hundreds of tourism experts gathered to discuss ideas and new ways to bring tourists to every corner of the state. As a result of the Governor's support of tourism in 2013, the industry has seen an increase in spending, state and local tax revenue, visitors and employment.
In 2013, New York's tourism industry generated direct spending of $59.2 billion, producing an estimated $7.5 billion in state and local taxes. The number of visitors to New York is estimated to have increased by 8.8 million and projected to finish at 218.8 million visitors in 2013. As the fourth largest employment sector in New York, the tourism industry also added 28,500 jobs in 2013 for a total of 832,500 jobs and generated more than $17.96 billion in wages. One out of every 12 jobs in New York is tourism-related.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams 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."
In addition, the summit provided an opportunity for a Business to Business Marketplace Meetup. The Meetup introduced product managers, tour operators, retailers and wholesalers from all 11 vacation regions in the state to promote the tourism assets of their respective areas. An estimated $25 million worth of potential business was conducted at the Summit. Additional workshop and program sessions during the summit focused on international and eco-tourism and exposed industry partners to best practices and case studies to better market New York State to potential visitors.
After discussions with tourism experts and hearing the concerns and ideas of local and international tourism stakeholders, the Governor announced a series of initiatives designed to build on the success of the first summit and further promote New York State as the tourism capital of the world:
Unprecedented Level of Tourism Funding: The Governor announced the State would invest nearly $45 million in tourism funding. This is a 50 percent increase in state funding over last year, and gives New York one of the largest state-only funded tourism campaigns in the nation. The funding is in addition to over $104 million in capital funding for tourism infrastructure provided last year for local tourism projects as well as investments in state parks, like Jones Beach and Niagara Falls, and facilities of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.
Partnership with NYC & Company: This partnership is geared to help build awareness of off-season New York City opportunities in other areas of the state. Working with NYC & Company, the I LOVE NEW YORK program will explore downstate and upstate joint visitor centers, share research and data and collaborate on international marketing.
Comprehensive, Integrated Tourism Marketing Campaign: Bringing together the I LOVE NY, Path Through History and Taste NY programs, New York State will promote tourism in the most integrated and comprehensive way ever through TV and other media, on the roads, on the rails, at airports, on the web and on mobile devices. This will include thousands of new road signs, new mass transit and airport advertising, and new tourism apps announced at the summit.
Group Travel to NYS: The Governor announced the launch of a new NY Loves Groups initiative to increase group and motorcoach travel, meetings and conventions throughout New York State. The initiative will include a coordinated statewide presence at key domestic and international sales and trade shows, as well as new group information available online.
Transportation Access to Tourism Opportunities: An I LOVE NY Get Out of Town bus will bring tourists from New York City and key Canadian markets to New York's ski slopes, wineries and breweries, and special events across the State.
Special Events: I LOVE NEW YORK will have a presence at key special events in the State in 2014 to acquire consumer data, bolster events as tourism draws and promote tourism statewide. A full calendar of events will be featured on I LOVE NEW YORK's website.
Global Tourism: Governor Cuomo announced I LOVE NEW YORK will expand its global reach through increased representation and partnerships in key markets such as Australia and China.
One Stop Shop to Boost Tourism Employment: A one-stop-shop website of hospitality training programs will be created to connect graduates of these kinds of programs with employers in the hospitality industry, which will create a statewide culture of hospitality, improve guest experiences and create jobs.
Informing Destination Development: A gap analysis will help identify transformative tourism infrastructure and marketing challenges and opportunities, and create a roadmap for public and private investment in the tourism sector.
Outdoor Tourism Promotion: Launch a new campaign specifically targeted to promote outdoor tourism including a partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to launch the Official NY State Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife App; Office of Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation with an early camping discount program; and a partnership with the Campground Owners of NY which will represent I LOVE NEW YORK at RV shows nationwide.
Expanded Mobile Presence: Earlier this year New York State launched a user-friendly ILOVENY.com website. Today a new, fully integrated I LOVE NY mobile app was launched that includes information on regional attractions, events, food, adventure/trip planning through a concierge function and connections to other state-tourism related apps. The app can be downloaded here for iOS users and here for Android users.
Market NY: Funding for the Market NY program will be increased to $12 million. This funding, awarded through the regional economic development council process, allows tourism assets across the state to make necessary bricks-and-mortar improvements and deploy innovative marketing campaigns to increase visitorship.
Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Jeff Klein said, "Tourism is big business in the Empire State, and the ideas generated from this summit will continue to create thousands of good paying jobs and grow our economy. The Governor has thoughtfully laid out a plan that develops strategic partnerships with the private sector that will help transform every corner of our state. Coupled with our historic investment in new tourism funding and a top notch marketing campaign, New York State will continue to maintain its status as a world class destination for millions of visitors throughout the globe."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "Tourism is critical to the overall economic well-being of our state -- creating jobs and spurring business. And it's no surprise because we have so many great assets here in New York -- from the tip of Long Island to the North Country and Niagara Falls, we are truly blessed with wonderful state parks, a vibrant arts and cultural community, sports and recreation opportunities, great restaurants, and beautiful beaches. The Assembly is proud to support a significant increase in tourism funding because the return will be well worth it, and I am committed to working with Governor Cuomo and the tourism industry to make New York one of the best places to live and visit in the world."
Senator Betty Little, Chair of the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation Committee, said, "All regions of New York State have something special to offer. If you advertise it, "they' will come, and when they do the tourists will spend money at restaurants, stores and shops, gas stations and overnight accommodations, helping businesses grow and generating revenue for state and local government. Governor Cuomo has listened to and worked with tourism and business officials to develop a comprehensive strategy and provide the funding to make sure it works. I have no doubt we're going to see many more people loving NY as a result."
Senator José M. Serrano said, "As the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, I am ecstatic about the progress New York State tourism has made under the guidance of Governor Cuomo. The arts and cultural sector enhance our lives and provide countless recreational and educational opportunities, while also serving as a major economic engine for communities across out state. I applaud all the participants for their commitment to tourism, and I'm thrilled that today's summit is being held in my senate district, which is host to a diverse array of tourist destinations."
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Chair of the Assembly's Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, said, "Thanks to the energetic support of Governor Cuomo, New York State has launched imaginative new initiatives that put a spotlight on the importance of the tourism industry to the state's economy and help ensure its continued expansion. This second Summit provides an important opportunity to connect with industry experts as we continue to identify new opportunities to bring visitors to the state and provide more jobs for New Yorkers."
Assembly Member John Ceretto, Ranking Members of the Assembly's Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, said, "Tourism is the cornerstone of New York State's economy -- from the majestic views of Niagara Falls to the hiking trails of the Adirondacks, there truly is something for everyone. I am pleased to be partnering with Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the legislature in supporting our vibrant tourism industries, which create jobs and drive economic activity in communities all across the State. Whether you've lived in New York State for years, or are just visiting for the first time, I encourage everyone to get out and explore the Empire State like never before."
"The Governor's commitment to tourism has literally changed the game and is creating an immediate economic impact", said James McKenna, President of the Lake Placid CVB.