Visitors’ Bureau Director Looks Forward To Initiative

A new $60 million tourism initiative to grow the industry could help Chautauqua County if the money is spent promoting area destinations.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the launch of New York’s largest tourism campaign in decades, committing nearly $60 million to grow the industry, create jobs and attract even more visitors to the Empire State. The governor’s announcement came at the conclusion of the state’s Tourism Summit, where hundreds of tourism experts gathered in Albany to discuss ideas and new ways to bring tourists to every corner of the state. As the fifth-largest employment sector in New York, tourism supported 714,000 jobs and generated more than $29 billion in wages in 2012. One out of every 12 jobs in New York is tourism-related. The more than 202 million international and domestic visitors that visited the Empire State last year resulted in $57 billion in direct tourism spending, and generated $7 billion in state and local taxes.

The tourism impact in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region shows that an estimated 2.3 million in tourists traveling to the region every year, according to information from the governor’s office. Travelers to the Chautauqua-Allegheny region spend an estimated $492 million every year. Tourism supports an estimated 10,885 jobs in the Chautauqua-Allegheny Region, generating an estimated $217 million in wages.

Andrew Nixon, Chautauqua County Visitors’ Bureau director, said the governor’s initiative will help Chautauqua County if the money is spent promoting its destinations.

“They need to make visitors aware of the destinations and experiences in each part of the state,” he said. “By providing visitors a way to get information on the variety of things to do throughout the state through marketing materials, online media, signage and social media marketing.”

Nixon said the best marketing for the county would be for more materials to be in New York City airports and in Port Authority-controlled facilities.

“What we hope for is more promotion for our area in the terms of a destination. Particularly in the New York City area. It is not only a large market, but an arrival area,” he said. “If we can gain more destination awareness there … it should be beneficial.”

Nixon said one of the governor’s plans is to make new welcome centers at boarders and at interstate crossings. Nixon said the welcome center in Ripley could benefit from economic development funding.

“We hope we could develop the Gateway Center in Ripley,” he said. “It is the western entrance into New York, and it could be made to look better.”

Nixon said there will be a meeting in Syracuse Friday to find out more about how counties can access the new tourism program to fit their marketing agendas.