Clayton, N.Y. (February 24, 2016) - The New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) announced today that it will host the 2016 Empire State Tourism Conference, along with I Love NY, this coming May 2-4 at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton.

"It is an honor for the 1000 Islands region to serve as host of this prestigious conference which will draw tourism professionals from all corners of this great state," shared Michael Folsom, Conference Chairman. "By being in Clayton, this conference provides an ideal opportunity for the region to shine and share with fellow NY tourist destinations that the 1000 Islands is an extraordinary place everyone should experience and enjoy."

The 3-day conference will kick-off on May 2 with opening remarks from NYS Senator Richard Funke (55th District), Chair of the Cultural Affairs, Tourism, and Parks & Recreation committee, as well as a presentation by I Love NY. Also on May 2, the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council, a diamond level sponsor of the conference, will host evening festivities which include a tour boat ride and reception at the area's most iconic attraction, Boldt Castle.

The theme of this year's conference, "The Future is Now," will be complimented by a number of breakout sessions and panel discussions on topics ranging from social media to audience targeting. Barbara Wold, an internationally known speaker and authority to the retail, consumer, hospitality and tourism industries with more than 40 years of firsthand experience in management and marketing, will serve as keynote speaker, as will Michael Johnson, Dean of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration.

"NYSTIA is looking forward to highlighting the tremendous assets of the 1000 Islands Vacation Region during our annual conference," said Jill Delaney, President and CEO of NYSTIA. "As New York State's 4th largest employer, tourism continues to drive the state's economy, and our conference is sure to further support that momentum with cutting-edge educational programming and collaboration opportunities."

Along with today's announcement, a logo for the conference has been introduced, providing branding recognition for the region as the host site. The logo, created by Riverside Media of Clayton, features the 1000 Islands International Bridge connecting upstate NY to Canada, NYS Park's Rock Island Lighthouse, the Antique Boat Museum's commuter yacht Zipper, and a row of tall standing trees representing the landscape of the Islands. A blue ribbon encompasses the lower portion of the logo symbolizing the majestic St. Lawrence River.

To register for the conference or for more information, visit Sponsorship opportunities are also available by contacting Dawn Borchert at

NYSTIA is organized for the purposes of bringing together New York State tourism industry interests to: advocate government policies and programs which will strengthen the industry; to raise the level of professionalism within the industry; to encourage the development of cooperative relationships and partnerships among its members; and to raise consumer awareness and appreciation of travel and vacation opportunities in New York State.


Michael J. Folsom
2016 Empire State Tourism Conference, Chairman
Antique Boat Museum, Marketing & Communications Consultant
315.686.4104 x250 - office
315.374.5273 - cell