Travel and Tourism Committee Update

November 3, 2011

Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts & Sports Development Public Hearing

On Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Assemblywoman Margaret Markey held the first Public Hearing of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts & Sports Development since assuming the role of Chair. The purpose of the hearing was to look at the economic impact of Tourism and how State programs help or hinder the Industry and what new programs could be implemented to better the Industry.

In addition to Assemblywoman Markey, Assemblyman Dean Murray who is the Republican ranking member of the committee; Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak; Assemblyman Sam Roberts; and Assemblyman Matthew Titone were in attendance.  Business Council members, Jan Chesterton of NYS Hospitality and Tourism Association and Michele Vennard of Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau testified as well as former Business Council President Kenneth Adams who Governor Cuomo tapped to be President and CEO of Empire State Development Corporation which oversees the Division of Tourism. 

The main point that was reiterated by everyone's testimony revolved around the positive economic impacts tourism brings to all our communities across the State. Obviously, the ever decreasing Tourism budget was addressed but maybe more important was the start of an open dialogue with the new Chairwoman about changes to the State's tourism programs and how important the Industry is to the future well being of the State's economy.

Business Council members who attended the first Travel & Tourism Committee meeting in September discussed how important the I Love NY brand and program had been and how they wanted to see the program reinvigorated and brought back to its previous prominence.  Following Kenneth Adams' testimony about the I Love NY program, Assemblyman Gabryszak brought up how we should be able to increase the revenue from licensing fees and the possibility of redirecting to a fund specifically designated to promote tourism.  

Every Assembly member acknowledged the economic benefits the Industry brings with it and seemed to want to continue the conversation about how to adequately fund and partner with Tourism in the next budget cycle.  Though The Business Council did not testify at the hearing we did deliver a letter to Assemblywoman Markey that included the survey results of our membership and travel and tourism industry leaders, click here to read the letter.