orda-black-and-white.jpgNiagara Falls, N.Y. - The Empire State Development Division of Tourism, which administers the I LOVE NY program, was a co-recipient along with Ski Areas of New York, Inc. (SANY) and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) of the 2013 Tourism Excellence Award for Tourism Promotion at the 7th Annual I LOVE NEW YORK Empire State Tourism Conference held at the Conference & Events Center in Niagara Falls on May 2nd. The co-recipients were selected by an independent judging panel of the New York State Travel & Vacation Association (NYSTVA, conference co-host), in recognition of their collaborative "NYS 10-10-10" program to promote skiing in New York State. The announcement was made during the awards dinner segment of the conference. "Governor Cuomo recognizes the importance of travel to the State's economy and has made tourism a top-priority of his administration," said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "Congratulations to our team at I LOVE NEW YORK, and our partners at Ski Areas of New York and ORDA for developing a program which created many affordable introductions to New York State's ski areas." Markly Wilson, Director of International Marketing for I LOVE NEW YORK and Mark Halter, President of Kissing Bridge Ski Resort and Chairman of Ski Areas of New York were on hand to receive the award. The nomination for the Tourism Excellence Award for Tourism Promotion (for entities with operating budgets over $500,000) was submitted by Liz Mezzetti, Marketing Director for ORDA, which is based in Lake Placid, NY. As part of the judging process for the Tourism Excellence Award for Tourism Marketing, nominees had to demonstrate planning and implementation of an overall marketing strategy that is creative and innovative, and resulted in increased attendance, public/private partnership, media exposure, website activity, and/or consumer response. According to Conference Chairperson Suzanne Bixby, the judges selected the NYS 10-10-10 project because it was a model for demonstrating the ease in leveraging public and private partnerships, and for exceeding its goal for number of people buying specially-priced lift tickets and skiing in New York. Said Bixby, "In submitting remarks about the NYS 10-10-10 project, judges used words like ‘fabulous' and ‘catchy' and ‘wow' to describe their impressions about the simplicity and ultimate success of the project." "This award is recognition of an outstanding team effort put forth by the NYS Ski Industry, I LOVE NEW YORK and M. Silver and Associates," said Scott Brandi, President of SANY. "We went from brain storming to implementation in less than 60 days.  The results exceeded expectations and we are looking forward to development of a new and improved promotion in the 2013-2014 season." "ORDA was particularly pleased to work with SKI AREAS OF NY on this exciting project as we brought resorts north/south/east and west together in a unified message ... Ski New York," said Ted Blazer, President and CEO of ORDA. "Over the years we have been lucky to have I LOVE NEW YORK as partners in pushing the message about all the great winter opportunities that New York has to offer.  This is a perfect example of cooperative energies working towards bolstering our winter markets both internally and out of state as well. " In the nomination questionnaire, Ms. Mezzetti wrote that the NYS 10-10-10 project deserved to win because, "Many skiers and riders, including those from New York, head to other states for long weekends and midweek winter trips. 10 -10 -10 was developed to give (them) a chance to try a New York State ski area for only $10 ... boost tourism ... revitalize the winter economy ... keep people skiing in New York." Now in its fourth year, NYSTVA's Tourism Excellence Awards recognize leadership and accomplishment in New York State's travel and tourism industry. Said Bixby, "We are always pleased with the caliber of the tourism projects that are nominated each year, and this year proved to be the most difficult yet in teasing out winners from so many worthy projects. We thank everyone who submitted nominations that give us something to think about and emulate in our own promotional efforts." Twenty-three projects were submitted for award consideration across all categories. The annual "I Love New York" Empire State Tourism Conference is co-hosted by the New York State Travel & Vacation Association (nystva.org), a trade association for tourism industry stakeholders across the state now in its 42nd year, and the New York State Department of Economic Development, Division of Tourism (iloveny.com). The annual "I Love New York" Empire State Tourism Conference brings together about 180 tourism industry professionals for three days of education and networking. About New York State New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York's attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Whether it's wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like hiking, biking and boating, culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods, or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers big excitement and tons activities for all travelers. About ORDA Established in 1982, the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) was created by the State of New York to manage the facilities used during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games at Lake Placid. ORDA operates Whiteface, Belleayre and Gore Mountain ski areas; the Olympic Sports Complex at Mt. Van Hoevenberg; the Olympic speed skating oval, Olympic jumping complex and Olympic arena. As host to international and national championships, the Authority has brought millions of athletes, spectator and participants to the region, resulting in significant economic development.  Contact: jlundin@orda.org 518-523-1655 ext. 5313