February 28, 2016
Lake Placid, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Success of Third Adirondack Winter Challenge, Investments to Boost Tourism in Upstate New York

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Success of Third...

Governor Announces $500,000 for New Cross-Border Marketing Campaign and $425,000 to Support Snowmobile Trails Across Region

Since 2011, State has Invested $130 Million to Promote Tourism – Visitation Up 12% to 227.5 Million; Visitor Spending Up 16% to $62.5 Billion; Jobs Up 15% to 884,200

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the success of the third annual Adirondack Winter Challenge in Lake Placid, which highlights Upstate New York as a world-class tourism destination. Hundreds of State and local officials, community members and professional athletes joined Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and senior administration officials to participate in some of the region's most popular winter sports, including hockey, alpine skiing, bobsledding and ice skating.

"The Adirondack Challenge shines a spotlight on one of the world's greatest travel destinations - because when people see what the region has to offer, they fall in love and keep coming back," said Governor Cuomo. "This administration is investing in tourism and local assets like never before in order to create jobs and stimulate the Upstate economy, and I'm proud to continue that focus in the North Country and beyond."

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"Today was an opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of wonderful attractions and recreational activities that the Adirondacks offers," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Even in a warmer-than-usual year, this region has everything you could possibly hope for in a great winter vacation. From dog-sledding and bike-riding, to skiing and touring historic Olympic venues, I encourage all New Yorkers to get out and see more of the Adirondacks this year."

Cross Border Tourism Marketing Campaign

The Governor announced an additional $500,000 for tourism promotion, bringing the State's total investment to $4.5 million this year. The funding will create a new cross-border advertising campaign that will build on the momentum of the state’s tourism industry and invite both New Yorkers and Canadian travelers to visit ski areas and other winter destinations in Upstate New York. The campaign will feature newspaper and radio advertisements in Eastern Canada, in both French and English languages, and across Upstate New York.

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The Canadian market is the number one inbound international source of travelers for New York State, contributing 4.2 million visitors annually and approximately $1.6 billion in economic impact. The radio and print advertisements will focus on attracting in-state and out-of-state visitors, especially those in Canada, to experience the exciting and diverse winter events taking place throughout the rest of the winter season and into spring, including skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding and hockey, food festivals, fishing derbies, boat shows and more.

Supporting Snowmobile Trails Across Region

The Governor also announced $425,000 for the Snowmobile Trail Fund to support trails across the state – including in the Adirondacks and Tug Hill Plateau. The Snowmobile Trail Fund provides upkeep for more than 10,000 miles of public snowmobile trails in New York State, and supports snowmobile safety education programs, and enforcement of NYS snowmobile laws. Snowmobiling generates an estimated $868 million in economic activity in New York State annually.

Tourism as an Economic Driver for New York State

Tourism is an economic driver for New York State, and especially important in Upstate. To maximize its role in creating jobs and growing the economy, the State has invested $130 million in promoting tourism since 2011. As of 2014, visitation is up 12 percent to 227.5 million; visitor spending is up 16 percent to $62 billion; and as of last year, tourism-related jobs are up 15 percent to 884,200. In 2014, the tourism industry generated a total economic impact of $100.1 billion – an all-time high for the state. As part of the 2016 budget, the Governor proposes to invest an additional $5 million in New York’s booming tourism economy to bring the state’s investment to $50 million.

In the Adirondacks specifically, local taxes from tourism-related spending has increased 6.8 percent to $88.9 million and State taxes increasing 8.1 percent to $70.7 million. Hotel occupancy also rose last year, bringing with it an increase in spending per room by 3.1 percent to $72.22.

For the 14th consecutive year, New York was the most visited state by overseas travelers in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Travel & Tourism Office. A total of 9.98 million overseas visitors came to the Empire State, accounting for 29% of all overseas travelers in the United States last year.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said: “New York State’s tourism industry has grown more and more each year, resulting in new jobs and a stronger economy. The beautiful vacation destinations and world-renowned attractions found across the state are unparalleled. Whether it's winter, spring, summer, or fall, we encourage travelers and New Yorkers alike to explore and enjoy all the Empire State has to offer.”

James McKenna, President and CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism said: "Governor Cuomo’s continued commitment to the Adirondacks and the North Country is paying off in spades. In 2015, we saw some of the highest year-round visitation numbers in decades, and it is thanks to his support that we are seeing such positive increases. The State promoting events in our region in March and April is unprecedented and will kick start our end of winter and early spring tourism economy.”

Bill Farber, Hamilton County Executive said: “Governor Cuomo has personally lead delegations of people to the Adirondacks to experience first-hand the natural beauty of our region. From the Adirondack Winter Challenge to Adirondack Summer Challenge to all of the various investments in tourism product and marketing, the Governor has made the Adirondacks a priority. Creating broad awareness of the world-class culinary, spa and the great outdoors has proven critical to our ability to drive visitation to the region.”

Gary DeYoung, President of the Thousand Islands International Tourism Council said: “We applaud Governor Cuomo for his commitment to the North Country and the important investments he has made to improve snowmobiling in New York State. New York State is fast becoming known as one of the premiere snowmobiling destinations in the country.”

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Contact the Governor's Press Office
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