Increase Shows Success of Revitalized “I LOVE NY” Campaign
State on Track to Reach Tourism Spending Goal of $60 Billion by 2020
Governor David A. Paterson and Empire State Development (ESD) today announced a 4 percent increase in direct tourism spending for New York State in 2008. According to a study commissioned by ESD’s Division of Tourism, visitors spent $53 billion in the local economy in 2008. The increase followed a revitalization of the “I LOVE NY” campaign and will keep the State on track to meet its tourism spending goal.“The tourism industry continues to prove itself a vital and growing part of the State’s economy,” said Governor David A. Paterson.“These results are encouraging and demonstrative of the industry’s indispensable role to the overall economic health and vitality of New York State. This summer we encouraged consumers to re-evaluate their leisure travel plans and take advantage of the wide array of driving destinations in New York State. They did, traveling across the State and experiencing all we have to offer. That is why despite our nation’s economic crisis we remain on track to meet our aggressive tourism spending goal of $60 billion by the year 2020. We have proven once again that New York remains a great choice for vacationers everywhere.”
The Division of Tourism’s Annual Report, released today, showed that despite the economic downturn, 2008 tourism revenues in New York State remained strong. Last spring’s relaunch of the iconic “I LOVE NY” campaign reasserted the statewide brand, aggressively targeting the 80 million consumers that live within a three to five hour drive from destinations in New York State. As a result, 2008 marked the sixth consecutive year of increased consumer spending since the Department started tracking this data six years ago.
The tourism sector has proven a vital and growing component of the State’s economy, generating over $14 billion in taxes, including $7 billion in State and local revenues. As the ninth largest employment sector in New York, tourism retained 678,000 jobs or 6.1 percent of all employment in the State.
New York also saw an increase in hotel room occupancy, particularly during the summer months when sales increased by nearly 4 percent, while they remained static across the rest of the nation. Despite the recession, New York still closed the year with hotel room sales up nearly 1 percent, while as a whole, the United States saw hotel occupancy decline by nearly 2 percent.
ESD President and CEO Marisa Lago said: “This increase is especially significant in today’s tough economic conditions. This year we encouraged visitors to experience our wide variety of getaway opportunities, and took a business-focused approach of targeting the more than 80 million people who live within a three-to-five hour drive. As a result, we marked the sixth consecutive year of increased consumer spending on tourism in New York. These results speak to our State’s great appeal, and I’m pleased that while people all over the world face tough economic realities, they continue to choose New York as their great escape.”
ESD Chief Marking Officer Thomas Ranese said: “People all over the world are in love with New York. New York is full of outdoor, cultural and culinary attractions, and hidden gems that make for great getaways on any budget. The re-branding of the ‘I LOVE NY’ campaign has contributed immensely to the success we experienced in 2008. Part of the reason why it captured the attention of so many consumers was because we did our research, just like the originators of the campaign did in the mid 1970s. We evaluated the economic climate along with what consumers were looking for in a destination, and then we marketed New York State in a way that presented our State as an attractive place to visit.”
The overall profile of the “I LOVE NY” brand has also been raised. A strong public relations effort resulted in $3.5 million in earned media globally. This, along with public private partnerships with Travelocity, Orbitz, Virgin Atlantic, Amtrak and others, has resulted in a 62 percent increase in consumers exploring and planning their travel on the Division of Tourism’s Web site, www.iloveny.com.