New York State Tourism Summit

Published: Jan 9, 2014

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  • Direct traveler spending in New York State up 15% since 2010, and total economic impact of tourism up 13.8%.

  • Re-launched one of the state’s great assets – the ‘I Love NY’ icon – known the world over as one of the most successful brands ever, with a marketing campaign that for the fi rst time in many years included millions of dollars in television advertising. Total I Love NY television and digital advertising in 2012 reached over 200 million people.

  • Grew the state’s tourism presence on social media so that I Love NY has more Facebook and Twitter followers than any other U.S. travel destination, and ranks in the top four worldwide.

  • Utilized award-winning domestic and international public relations campaigns for I Love NY that reached an audience of 1.128 billion people and generated the equivalent of $14.4 million in advertising.

  • Entered into joint advertising, marketing and other partnership initiatives with industry leaders like JetBlue, Amtrak, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, UK Travel Channel and Brand USA. The state also made its fi rst foray into mobile advertising with a campaign that exceeded industry norms.

  • Provided millions of dollars in funding to tourism promotion agencies, municipalities, non-profi t organizations, public benefi t corporations and others to support local and regional promotion of tourism efforts and promote destinations, support special events and improve attractions.

  • At a statewide Summit, launched the “Path Through History” initiative to highlight New York to heritage travelers worldwide. The initiative now includes: an interactive website with itinerary planner; new signage on interstates and highways; a grants program for local promotion of historic attractions; and an integrated marketing campaign across traditional and new media platforms. The State Capitol has also been transform into a living museum with exhibits and artifacts.

  • Spurred record growth in the Wine, Beer & Spirits industry, beginning with a statewide Summit and continuing with: regulatory and statutory reforms to signifi cantly reduce business costs for beverage producers; the creation of a One Stop Shop website to allow beverage businesses to start or expand; and the growth of beverage trails across the state.

  • To spotlight the state’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities, and attract visitors to upstate New York, launched “I Love My Park Day” and committed $89 million in funding to rehabilitate dozens of state parks and historic sites, representing the single largest infusion of capital dollars in history for New York’s park system.

  • Knowing the recreational and economic value of hunting and fi shing, created the “New York Open for Fishing and Hunting” initiative to make it easier for more New Yorkers and visitors from across the country to take advantage of the state’s rich sporting tradition.


New York State is rightly known around the country and the world as a premier tourist destination. Tourism is vital to the state’s economy, supporting over 700,000 jobs and generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue. Since taking office, I have put tourism at the forefront of my “New York Open for Business” economic development agenda, recognizing that tourism is New York’s fifth largest employer and a critical economic engine.

My family and I love vacationing in New York because of its incomparable beauty and unparalleled tourism assets. We delight in paddling our canoes through the state’s great waterways, and exploring the myriad of parks and beaches. We enjoy visiting the state’s outstanding museums and cultural institutions, and discovering the rich history that has taken place within our borders.

Whether enjoying the beaches of Long Island; sampling the food and drink of the Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes; discovering the state’s and nation’s history in the Catskills, the Capital-Saratoga area and Central New York; exploring the beauty of the Adirondacks, the Thousand Islands and Greater Niagara; or experiencing the arts and culture of New York City and the Chautauqua-Allegheny region -- there is literally so much to love about New York.

A central goal of my administration is to make people around the world aware of our state’s tourism destinations, and motivate visitors to experience the wonders of New York State for themselves. I am very proud of the state’s recent expanded investment in tourism, and am committed to growing it. Our tourism assets are a central part of our state’s economy, and we must continue our efforts to better market all that New York has to offer.

We are grateful that you have joined with other leaders here today for the first-ever New York State Tourism Summit to discuss the ways that the state can continue to launch innovative initiatives, support the work of our local and regional partners, and expand tourism and economic development. Now let’s continue the work!

Enjoy the summit,
Andrew M. Cuomo


The tourism sector has proven to be a vital and growing component of New York State’s economy.

In 2012, visitors to New York State generated a record $92.2 billion in total economic impact – an increase of more than $11 billion since 2010 – in addition to generating $7.2 billion in state and local taxes. Our state parks alone generate $1.9 billion annually in output and sales.

As the fifth largest employment sector in New York, tourism supported 714,222 jobs and generated $17.39 billion in wages. In fact, 1 out of every 12 jobs in New York is directly created by the tourism industry.


Tourism in New York can be thought of as falling into four primary tourism industry segments:

  1. Individual Leisure Travel: Both domestic and international individual travelers traverse the state by plane, by car, by rail, by bus and, in some cases, on foot and on bicycles.

  2. Individual Business Travel: Approximately 50% of New York State’s in-bound international individual travel is business travel.

  3. Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE): In 2012, MICE represented $18 billion in direct spending in New York State.

  4. Packaged Group Travel: Groups enjoy the state of New York on motor coach tours put together by receptive operators and New York state-based bus companies. Additionally, group leaders engage bus or tour companies to organize individualized trips for their own groups.


Supported by millions of dollars across a multitude of diverse platforms, New York State has made signifi cant investments in supporting and promoting tourism, from reaching consumers through traditional and new media campaigns, to launching specialized tourism initiatives, to marketing to international and group travelers, to directly funding tourism marketing and the creation and improvement of tourism assets in regions across the state.

In 2012, the Division of Tourism re-launched the state’s iconic I Love NY campaign, historically considered the gold standard in state tourism branding. A creative platform for both summer and fall tourism, the ad campaign highlighted the state as a diverse tourist destination with something for everyone by asking people to draw what they love in place of the logo’s heart.

The campaign was shaped by millions of dollars in TV spots as well as print and digital ads featuring New York State regions and the variety of activities offered. TV spots ran in markets across New York State as well as in Vermont, Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Toronto and Montreal, and digital ads appeared on sites such as Orbitz, Time Out NY, Travel Channel and Trip Advisor. Consumers found the ads to be highly attention-grabbing and appealing, with 2 in 5 saying they would remember New York for future reference and 13% actually travelling to the state.

New media was also utilized to maximize the campaign. Street teams approached consumers, encouraging them to draw what they loved about New York State and then posted their illustrations on a Follow Your Heart microsite, with over 900 consumers declaring their love for New York State. A twitter promoted trend (#followyourheartNY) resulted in 29.8M impressions with an 11.9% overall engagement rate. The trend lifted mentions of @I_Love_NY by 400% and increased its normal follows by 300%.


In 2011, travelers spent more than $5 billion in New York State on heritage tourism. The Path Through History program, announced last year by Governor Cuomo, was created to showcase New York State’s unparalleled network of museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions in every region of the state.

Through a thematic approach, Path Through History tells the story of New York and guides visitors across the state to discover the events of the past and to learn how they reverberate today. Hundreds of important heritage sites across the state have been selected with input from leading historians and regional workgroups, and featured through thirteen themes: Arts & Culture, Canals & Transportation, Civil Rights, Colonial History, Immigration, Innovation & Commerce, Native American, Natural History, The Revolution, Sports History, U.S. Presidents, the War of 1812 and Women’s Rights.

The program features new Path Through History branded signage installed along interstates; a website and mobile app; a marketing campaign; and $1 million of Path Through History grants to be distributed to regions across the state.

Path Though History weekends are taking place June 1st and 2nd, and 8th and 9th, where museums, historic sites, parks, and community groups from New York City to Niagara Falls are holding special tours, events, reenactments and community celebrations. Additionally, New York State Museum Week — June 10th to 16th — offers seven exciting days of special events, activities, promotional offers and discounts.

New York is home to hundreds of award-winning wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries, scores of which open themselves up to the public with a mix of tours, gift shops and/or tasting areas. Since 1985, the New York wine industry has gone from 50 to 335 wineries in 55 of 62 counties, multiplying from 340,000 to over 4.98 million wine-related tourist visits annually and generating more than $3.76 billion annually in wine-related tourist expenditures. Studies commissioned by the New York State Division of Tourism indicate that visiting wineries and breweries is identifi ed by tourists as their primary reasons for visiting New York as often as other popular activities like hiking, biking, camping and boating.

In October 2012, Governor Cuomo hosted New York’s fi rst Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit where he announced plans for a new marketing campaign to promote state-produced wine, beer, cider and spirits sales and tourism, as well as a series of regulatory reforms that will signifi cantly reduce business costs for beverage producers. The Summit was attended by dozens of beer, wine, cider and spirits producers, as well as farmers, industry offi cials and tourism experts, who discussed with state agency offi cials and members of the Governor’s Cabinet specifi c legislative and regulatory issues facing the beer and wine industry and explored new ways for the state to work as a partner to further solidify New York’s position as a leading hub of beer, wine and spirits production and tourism.

Activities are currently underway -- from the development of marketing campaigns to expansion of New York’s wine and beverage trails -- to maximize activity in this important tourism segment, and take advantage of the unique tourism opportunities offered by the production of wine, beer, and spirits offers in New York State.

On July 21, 2013, the town of Indian Lake will greet thousands of guests to the Adirondack Challenge 2013, bringing attention to the amazing tourism assets of New York’s Adirondack region. The day will include: an invitational whitewater race; an internationally competitive fl atwater event; and an outdoor festival with music, food, displays, demos, kids activities and more. Local cultural, social and other events will also be hosted throughout the region in the days leading up to race day.

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Many travelers get to experience New York’s extensive attractions as part of a group tour, whether as individuals joining group trips organized by a travel company, or individual groups chartering their own trips through tour operators. Recognizing the importance of the group tour industry, the Division of Tourism has stepped up its outreach to this vital industry segment.

The 2013-14 I Love NY Group Travel Guide was released in January, in time for the important industry tradeshows taking place that month. Besides providing an overview of the state’s tourism assets, the 16-page, full-color guide features regional itineraries from which operators can create tours for their groups, as well as listings of special events and regional highlights from across the state.

The guide and an accompanying one-page “What’s New” piece were important tools to reach tour operators at two major national industry events held in January 2013: The American Bus Association Marketplace and the NTA Travel Exchange. I Love NY was represented at both events with: a networking booth; a number of receptions and special events; and close to a hundred one-on-one appointments with group tour operators.


New York State goes beyond engaging in tourism activities itself; state government also works to support local and regional partners across New York in their tourism efforts. For example, the Division of Tourism purchases tourism research on an annual basis, not only to stay informed about the latest trends in travel and measure the impact of its marketing and promotional programs, but also to provide a powerful tool to local tourism partners like Tourism Promotion Agents (TPAs) for use in their planning and reporting. The Economic Impact of Tourism in New York State report provides detailed information down to the county level, including data on direct spending, wages, employment and local, state and federal taxes generated as a result of visitor spending in the tourism industry. In addition, a Visitor Profi le Report provides detail about the demographic profi les, state of origin, activity participation, length of stay and spending of visitors.

New York State’s greatest support of local and regional tourism efforts, however, probably comes in the form of tens of millions of dollars of funding that is provided to TPAs, municipalities, non-profi t organizations, public benefi t corporations and others to promote tourism destinations, support tourismrelated special events and improve tourist attractions.

For example, the Division of Tourism administers a Tourism Matching Funds Program to provide funds to local TPAs for the planning and promotion of marketing programs. The aim of the funding is to allow local regions to reach new market areas and expand programs that will create new or sustain current numbers of overnight visitation. TPAs are encouraged to consider the most effective and effi cient marketing program and media mix to stimulate tourism in the local and regional economy. They are also encouraged to work with their Regional Economic Development Councils to align tourism initiatives with the overall regional economic development plans.

Funding for tourism projects are also distributed from a wide range of state agencies through the Consolidated Funding Application process. Since 2011, $26.2 million has been granted through this process in Regional Council Grants to support tourism in regions across the state.

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