Industry leaders to discuss ways to grow New York's tourism industry Albany, N.Y. (May 1, 2013) - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he will host New York State's first Tourism Summit to hear ideas from industry leaders, business owners and other stakeholders to help ensure that the tourism industry continues to grow and create jobs in New York. The Tourism Summit will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM at the Hart Lounge in Albany. "From the wine trails of the Finger Lakes to the beaches of Long Island, New York State has the top destinations for visitors from around the world," Governor Cuomo said. "The tourism industry is the fifth largest employer in New York and a critical economic engine, and the State is committed to continuing its success. Our summits have produced real results for other industries, cutting red tape and making it easier to do business here in New York. This summit will continue our dialogue with the business community so that we can find ways to boost the tourism sector, create jobs, and better market all that the Empire State has to offer." Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has launched a series of initiatives to bolster statewide tourism, including new marketing and advertising campaigns to showcase New York State's many assets and attractions. As the fifth largest employment sector in New York, tourism supported 694,000 jobs and generated $16.6 billion in wages in 2011. In 2011 alone, the Empire State welcomed 202 million international and domestic visitors - an 8.3 percent increase from the year before. These visitors contributed a record $53.9 billion in direct tourism spending, and generated $6.9 billion in state and local taxes. To build on these successes and continue to boost tourism and create jobs, the Governor recently launched several new initiatives to spotlight the State's natural beauty and recreational opportunities and attract visitors to Upstate New York, such as the I Love My Park Day, New York Open for Fishing and Hunting, Path Through History and the Adirondack Challenge. During the summit, the Governor will moderate a discussion where participants will have the opportunity to provide input on what they believe will help boost New York tourism throughout the state. There will be updates on tourism initiatives launched by Governor Cuomo since he took office, including Path Through History, the re-launched ‘I Love NY' marketing campaign and the Wine, Beer & Spirits tourism effort, among others. The Governor will be joined by senior staff and top State marketing officials, as well as Cristyne Nicholas, the new Chair of the New York State Tourism Advisory Council, Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts and Chairman Emeritus of the US Travel Association, and state, national and international tourism leaders. Additionally, several topical breakout sessions will be held in the afternoon on vital tourism industry market segments, moderated by recognized industry thought leaders. Breakout topics include: sports and event-driven tourism; interest-based and niche tourism such as agri, cultural, and heritage tourism; and international tourism.