November 5, 2015
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Opens Office of Trade and Tourism in Puerto Rico to Strengthen Island's Ties With New York State

TOP Governor Cuomo Opens Office of Trade and...

Betty Enríquez Appointed Director of New York State Office of Trade and Tourism in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico; Office Features Taste NY and I Love NY Products

Governor Cuomo, Joined By Governor García Padilla, Continues Commitment to Strengthening Relationship Between New York and Puerto Rico

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today joined Governor Alejandro García Padilla to announce the grand opening of the New York State Office of Trade and Tourism in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The office will promote mutually beneficial tourism opportunities and strengthen economic ties between the state and the island. The office includes a New York State Discovery Center, which will offer residents and visitors a New York State experience, with a Taste NY and I LOVE NY store promoting New York-made and produced products. Today’s announcement follows an aggressive action plan launched in September to foster a mutually beneficial economic development relationship between Puerto Rico and New York State.

 

Governor Cuomo said: “New York has always had a special connection with Puerto Rico – and today we are taking a step to make that relationship stronger than ever. This office is a new gateway to the Empire State, where trade and tourism partnerships can be developed and people in Puerto Rico can get a taste of what New York has to offer. This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our state’s long and close history with Puerto Rico, and I’m eager to see it grow in the days to come.”

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Governor García Padilla said: “It’s very fitting that we are opening this space here today – because just last month, our administration opened a storefront in New York City to promote everything that Puerto Rico has to offer and encourage people to visit. Both of these stores are win-win ventures. They’re a win for small business owners in both New York and Puerto Rico, because they’re gaining an extra foothold into a vibrant commercial market that is ready to do business. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his work in strengthening the mutually beneficial relationship between New York and Puerto Rico and I look forward to what we will accomplish moving forward.”

 

Betty Enríquez has been appointed Director of the New York State Office of Trade and Tourism in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ms. Enríquez will lead the office, drawing from a career in strategic marketing and business development in both New York and Puerto Rico. Ms. Enríquez will be responsible for cultivating strategic partnerships between New York and Puerto Rico in order to advance mutually beneficial economic development projects and promote cross-border trade. In this role, Ms. Enríquez will build relationships with governmental entities, business and advocacy groups, and community organizations throughout Puerto Rico to grow the energy, high tech, agriculture and tourism industries. Three additional full-time employees will join Ms. Enríquez in the new office.

 

The new Office and Discovery Center opened today in the heart of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The office will encourage travel to New York’s 11 unique vacation regions and build on the tourism industry’s economic impact in 2014, which exceeded $100 billion for the first time in state history. The new office will also work to build trade relationships between Puerto Rico and New York and forge partnership opportunities to continue growing the Taste NY program. Taste NY, overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, promotes more than 1,100 New York State companies and their products in Taste NY stores and at Taste NY events year-round, resulting in more than $5 million in gross revenues in 2015.

 

The Office’s Discovery Center store will feature New York-made sauces, honey, jams, granola, maple syrup and a number of other New York-made and produced products. The Discovery Center will also feature I Love NY T-shirts, hats, key chains, luggage tags, and other I Love NY merchandise and promotional items. New York State is home to unique attractions, historical landmarks, and world-renowned destinations, all of which will be included in materials available at the Discovery Center for Puerto Rican residents and visitors.

 

Funding for the new office came from Empire State Development. It is the first-of-its kind for New York in Puerto Rico, and the first Taste NY store outside of New York.

 

In addition, in September Governor Cuomo and Speaker Heastie proposed a $5 million joint tourism campaign to encourage travel between New York and Puerto Rico. The campaign will leverage the high level of visitation that currently exists, with a focus on travel, tourism spending, and overall economic impact for both Puerto Rico and New York. The investment strengthens tourism as New York’s fourth largest industry and supports Governor Cuomo’s commitment to encourage job creation in every corner of the state.

 

Congressman Charles B. Rangel said: “I applaud Governor Cuomo and Governor Padilla for creating a key bridge that will not only increase tourism between New York State and Puerto Rico but also strengthen our economies. As a Congressman proudly serving a district with many Puerto Ricans, I know that efforts to promote closer ties between the people are vital to creating more jobs and opportunities as well as flourishing communities."

 

Congressman José E. Serrano said: “I’m very pleased to learn about the opening of the New York State Office of Trade and Tourism in San Juan. Puerto Rico needs all the help and support it can get and this effort will help create economic opportunities on the island. Having an office in Puerto Rico that promotes the products from New York State and that motivates the residents of the island to travel to our great state will also bring opportunities to NY. This initiative will undoubtedly strengthen even more the special relationship that has existed between New Yorkers and Puerto Ricans since the early 1900’s. I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have in both communities.”

 

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez: “There has long been an air bridge between New York and Puerto Rico. Efforts like these that encourage tourism and travel between New York and Puerto Rico create mutually beneficial opportunities that help the economies of both.”

 

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said: “Today is another example of how we’re working to keep the relationship between New York and Puerto Rico strong – and using that relationship to better both of our communities. I am very happy that our friends in Puerto Rico will be able to sample some of our best farm products such as New York maple syrup and yogurt, as I have been able to over the last several months. I look forward to seeing an increase in trade deals soon. I hope that this is the start of a great expansion of sales of New York products in the Caribbean.”

 

Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said, “Today’s announcement represents an important opportunity to connect with our Puerto Rican partners and continue building the strong economic partnership between New York State and Puerto Rico. I am proud to build on the similar heritage and experiences that our governments share and today’s opening of the New York State Office of Trade and Tourism is another milestone on that journey. I thank the Governor for his unwavering commitment to improving Puerto Rico’s economic health and I look forward to continuing the dialogue and placing Puerto Rico on the path towards a brighter future.

 

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito said: “The heritage that New York and Puerto Rico share is one that stretches back generations, and today is about keeping that heritage strong not just in the weeks and months ahead, but for future generations. I am proud to see the first New York State Office of Trade and Tourism opened in Puerto Rico, and look forward to an even closer relationship between New York and Puerto Rico moving forward.”

 

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said: “We are working to diversify and expand our economies by establishing a trade and tourism office in San Juan to focus on grass-roots economic growth and encourage travel to both New York State and Puerto Rico. The Taste NY and I Love NY displays will allow New York entrepreneurs and business owners to get their products in front of a whole new market. It’s a win-win for everyone and we look forward to building even stronger relationships as this partnership grows.”

 

State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said: "We're so excited to grow the Taste NY program and for the first time, premier a Taste NY store outside New York State. Because of the Governor's strong support of the agriculture industry, we're able to showcase some of our best products from across the state to the world, helping to expand our farmers' and producers’ reach to new markets and promote New York's unique travel destinations."

 

The initial list of vendors that will be featured at the new Taste NY store includes:

  1.  bobbysue’s nuts! (Chappaqua)
  2. Brad’s Organic Salsas (Haverstraw)
  3. Empire Mayonnaise (Brooklyn)
  4. Fly Creek Cider Mill Salsas (Fly Creek)
  5. Gatherers Granola (Schenectady)
  6. Hurd Orchards Sauces (Holley)
  7. JNB Foods (Albany)
  8. Joe’s Jerky (Sherrill)
  9. Kerber’s Farm Preserves (Huntington)
  10. LolaGranola Bar (Croton Falls)
  11. Maple Hill Creamery (Stuyvesant)
  12. Merle Maple Farm Maple Products (Attica)
  13. Mike’s Hot Honey (Brooklyn)
  14. Miss Sydney Chutney (Fuero Bush)
  15. Nelson Farms – Apple Crisp Mix, Peanut Brittle, Chocolate Maple Topping (Cazenovia)
  16. North Fork Potato Chips –Sidor Family Farm (Cutchogue)
  17. NYBUZZ Honey (Tivoli)
  18. Old School Favorites (Southampton)
  19. Roni-Sue’s Chocolates (New York)
  20. Saranac Craft Soda (Utica)
  21. Saratoga Peanut Butter Company (Saratoga)
  22. Saratoga Salsa (Saratoga)
  23. Saratoga Spring Water (Saratoga)
  24. Serendipitea Teas (Manhasset)
  25. Shaver-Hill Maple Farm Maple Products (Harpersfield)
  26. Slickepott Caramel Sauce (Delhi)
  27. Tom’s Bootleg BBQ Sauce (Albany)
  28. Weber’s Mustard Condiments (Buffalo)

 

About Taste NY

Taste NY is an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries. It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at large public events such as the Great New York State Fair and Super Bowl XLVIII. The program has also opened stores at highway rest stops and transportation hubs, enabling travelers to buy New York State’s homegrown and homemade products. Approximately 1,100 local companies have participated in these opportunities, further linking their products and the state’s growing food and beverage market to consumers from across the globe. For more information about Taste NY, please visit www.taste.ny.gov, or connect with Taste NY through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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