Regional Welcome Center Inside Destiny USA Will Promote Central New York Tourism, History and Locally-Made Food and Beverages
Investment Complements "Central New York Rising" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of the Central New York Welcome Center inside Destiny USA, America's sixth largest shopping center, in Syracuse. The Welcome Center, one of 11 being built throughout the state, advances the Governor's commitment to continue growing the state's tourism industry by promoting local attractions, food and beverage producers, and the region's agritourism destinations. With today's announcement, the Central New York Welcome Center has opened in time for the 2017 holiday shopping season, and offers an array of locally-made gifts.
"Central New York is home to the Great New York State Fair, world-class apple orchards and first-rate breweries and distilleries, and this new welcome center will help attract tourists to support those industries and encourage growth across the region," Governor Cuomo said. "The Central New York Welcome Center will encourage millions of visitors to experience these incredible regional attractions and enjoy world-class Taste NY products."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "This new Welcome Center will introduce New York State grown and produced products to millions of visitors of the Destiny USA mall, one of the nation's largest shopping centers located right here in Syracuse. The Central NY Welcome Center presents the perfect opportunity to promote our state, introduce our products to a global market, promote tourism, and most importantly - bring more jobs to Upstate NY."
The Central New York Welcome Center features regionally-specific elements, including a Wall of Fame recognizing famous Central New Yorkers and a state-of-the-art Central New York Virtual Reality experience. Visit Syracuse, the region's Tourism Promotion Agency, will operate retail space within the center featuring a Taste NY Market with locally-made food and gifts like artisanal jams, gourmet hot chocolate mix, flavored culinary salts, truffles, maple fudge, hand-crafted candles, all natural soaps, and cutting boards made from New York State wood. The shop will also sell I LOVE NEW YORK shirts, magnets and travel mugs.
The New York producers featured at the Welcome Center include:
Arbor Hill, Naples
Beak and Skiff, Lafayette
Cazenovia Cut Block, Cazenovia
Chocolate Pizza Company, Marcellus
Clean Slate Farm, Fabius
Dutch Hill Maple, Tully
Hot Chocolate, Morrisville
In My Father's Kitchen, Syracuse
Joe's Jerky, Sherrill
Lake House Vinyl, Syracuse
Nelson Farms, Cazenovia
Penguin Random House, New York City
Recess Coffee, Syracuse
Speach Family Candy Shoppe, Syracuse
Syracuse Salt Co., Syracuse
Syracuse Soapworks, Syracuse
The Pasta Shoppe, Utica
Witty Wicks, Camillus
The Welcome Center also pays tribute to the great outdoors. It features a camper retrofit with a large LED screen that promotes regional tourism attractions and destinations. Multiple interactive I LOVE NEW YORK kiosks are positioned in kayaks, allowing visitors to test their knowledge of the region or design a trip itinerary. A Department of Motor Vehicles self-service kiosk will allow users to renew their vehicle registrations and conduct other DMV transactions. Funding for the regional welcome centers was approved as part of the FY 2018 New York State Budget.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The Central New York Welcome Center highlights the area's rich heritage while encouraging travel to attractions and agritourism destinations across the region."
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The Central New York Welcome Center is a fantastic addition to Destiny USA, bringing the region's great food and beverages and local gift items right to consumers. The Welcome Center's Taste NY store offers a variety of products, from New York-made pasta sauce and salsa from Nelson Farms to Dutch Hill Maple and Beak and Skiff applesauce, helping to further boost the agricultural industry and drive tourism to New York's farms and small businesses."
Stephen J. Congel, Chief Executive Officer of Pyramid Management Group, LLC, Destiny USA's parent company, said, "We are incredibly excited to collaborate with New York State on this exciting venture, which gives millions of visitors from across the country and around the world another reason to extend their length of stay in Central New York. The addition of the I LOVE NEW YORK Welcome Center further solidifies Destiny USA's reputation as an international tourist destination and serves as an interactive gateway to travelers looking to experience the very best Central New York has to offer."
Visit Syracuse Vice President of Engagement Tracey Burkey said, "Visit Syracuse is proud to operate this beautiful CNY Welcome Center. Central New York is rich in history, culture, agriculture and so much more. This Welcome Center showcases all that this area has to offer and encourages visitors to explore and experience our spectacular region."
Last October, Governor Cuomo announced the grand opening of the Long Island Welcome Center in Dix Hills, Suffolk County. Since then, Welcome Centers have opened in New York City at the Jacob Javits Center; in the Mohawk Valley at Lock E-13 between Fultonville and Canajoharie along the New York State Thruway; and in the Southern Tier on Interstate 81 in Kirkwood, Broome County.
Since taking office in 2011, Governor Cuomo has made unprecedented investments in the tourism industry throughout New York State, leading to historic levels of visitors and direct spending. In 2016, New York welcomed a record 239 million visitors who spent nearly $65 billion, generating a total economic impact of more than $100 billion for the third straight year. Additionally, tourism remains the state's fourth largest employer, supporting more than 914,000 jobs annually.
Assemblyman William Magnarelli said, "The new Welcome Center at Destiny is a wonderful addition that will continue to expand Destiny's vital role in Central New York Tourism. As people visit the retail and restaurant opportunities at Destiny, they will also encounter this Center which will offer resources and information about other local and regional attractions."
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "The new Central New York Welcome Center is a first-rate, modern facility deserving of our region's unparalleled local attractions. I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to promoting the best that our region has to offer, from our world-class beverage producers to agritourist destinations. I also thank DestiNY for partnering to show this exceptional welcome center and look forward to the economic excitement and activity it will surely generate."
Accelerating Central NY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.7 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.