syracuse.JPGSyracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes Meet Syracuse, a program designed to encourage community members to bring their meetings and conventions home to Syracuse Syracuse, N.Y.  --  The Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) is asking local businesses, organizations and individuals for assistance in bringing new convention business to Onondaga County with the revitalization of its Meet Syracuse program. To submit a lead about a meeting, convention or event attended outside of Onondaga County, simply go to www.VisitSyracuse.org/meetsyracuse. If the information provided results in a bid proposal by the SCVB, the person who submits the lead will win a $100 gift card to a Syracuse restaurant or attraction.  "The concept is simple," said SCVB Vice President of Sales and Services Tracey Kegebein.  "If community members are travelling outside of Onondaga County to attend meetings and conventions- we want to know the name of the event so that we can bring it here to fill our hotel rooms, restaurants, and attractions with visitors.  Chances are very good that the Greater Syracuse area would be a perfect host community for the meeting's next available open year." The SCVB works with a wide-varity of associations from across the country to bring their conventions, ranging from 50 to 5,000 attendees to Syracuse. However, many groups require a local point person before they will commit to a certain city.  "Sometimes local association members are hesitant to volunteer their city as a meeting site because they may be overwhelmed at the planning involved," said Kegebein.  "That is the best part of our Meet Syracuse program - the local contact can relax while the SCVB handles everything from coordinating rooms to meeting space to transportation, if necessary." Meetings and conventions are big business for the Greater Syracuse area and an important economic generator for the community.  In 2011, the SCVB led the production of more than $724 in direct visitor spending in Onondaga County which in turn supported nearly 17,000 local jobs.  The tax revenue produced by local tourism in 2011 resulted in an average $500 tax savings for each Onondaga County household. Led by the SCVB, a key component of  the Meet Syracuse program is a team approach of Syracuse area hospitality partners meeting directly with local businesses, organizations and individuals to encourage their participation in the program. "The Meet Syracuse program is a local initiative that we are 100% supportive of," said Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center Marketing Manager and Meet Syracuse Chairperson Richard Duda.  "Giving Onondaga County residents an opportunity to showcase their community to their professional organizations not only brings valuable revenue into our community, but also provides us with the chance to show each attendee why Syracuse is such a great place to live, work and play.  Those who have embraced this program exhibit a great sense of community pride and have become real game changers for our tourism industry." Join the many Central New Yorkers who have shared a lead and opened the door to introduce our community to state, regional and national associations. Meet Syracuse Spotlight: Syracuse Nationals The power of a local lead is exemplified by central New York natives, Bob and Rob O'Connor.  The father and son team are responsible for bringing thousands of visitors and millions of dollars in travel spending to the Greater Syracuse area.  Bob, Right Coast, Inc president and Rob, event director, began making their significant impact to the local economy more than 13 years ago with the creation and production of Syracuse Nationals.   Now recognized as one of the largest classic car shows in the country, the annual event has generated over $156 million in travel spending to the local economy since inception.  "My father and I both feel it's important to bring new events to Syracuse for two reasons," said Rob O'Connor.  "Having fun, affordable events for the entire family adds to the quality of life in Syracuse. Many families plan their vacations around our events so they can all attend together.  From an economic standpoint, the events "inject" new tourism money into the local economy.  Many local businesses say the Syracuse Nationals week is their busiest week of the year." Syracuse Nationals will drive into town July 20-22, 2012. For more information, or to schedule an interview with Tracey Kegebein, Richard Duda or Rob O'Connor, please contact SCVB Communications Manager Danica Kaltaler at DKaltaler@VisitSyracuse.org or (315) 470-1903. About the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau The Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) headquartered in Syracuse, N.Y. is Onondaga County's accredited destination marketing organization for tourism related economic development leading the production of more than $724 million in direct visitor spending annually. For more information, visit http://www.visitsyracuse.org/.

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Media Contact: Danica B. Kaltaler, communications manager Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau (315) 470-1903 | DKaltaler@VisitSyracuse.org