Travel and Tourism Committee Update
March 7, 2012

Tourism Funding

Following the Governor's State of the State address in January the Travel & Tourism Industry felt positive about funding for the Division of Tourism, the county matching funds program and a statewide marketing program. However, the actual proposed funding in the Executive Budget fell short of expectations, although some remained optimistic when the Governor mentioned that his “Open for Business” initiative would also work in conjunction with Division of Tourism to “highlight our regional treasures…” 

On Tuesday, February 21, Harvey Cohen, Vice President of Marketing for Empire State Development and Edward Maitino, Managing Director for Division of Tourism, joined members of The Business Council's Travel and Tourism Committee. They discussed how “Open for Business” would work to market tourism, give an update on what the Division of Tourism is currently working on, and sought feedback from the industry on current programs and ideas on what else they could be doing to better the state of tourism in New York.  

While plans are not yet final, Cohen said approximately $5 million of the $50 million contract between the state and the marketing firm, BBDO for “Open for Business” would focus on producing a TV spot for I Love NY and making media buys in the mid-Atlantic, Toronto and metro NYC areas. I Love NY has not had a TV spot on the airwaves for over five years. The influx of money from a previous set aside for the “Open for Business” campaign will double all state funding for tourism, as long as the budget passes without any changes to these appropriations. 

Edward Maitino added that the current PR firm for I Love NY, M. Silver, would continue to update, improve and better integrate social media into the existing I Love NY website. Proposals for a new website developer were due by December 30, 2011; Edward believes the new website will be unveiled in 2013. 

Executive Order 38

The meeting concluded with a brief overview of Executive Order 38 and its potential to have a broader impact other than what most people originally thought. Maggie Moree told the group that although the Executive Order arose after reports detailing the abuse at non-profits in the health and human service sectors that received state funding, the actual wording of the Executive Order could impact any non-profit or for-profit organization that has a contract with, or receives grant funding from the state for the provision of “services.” 

We will continue to monitor and keep you updated on the tourism appropriations in the budget and how the “Open for Business” Tourism Marketing plan unfolds.