The number of visitors to New York this year will hit 219 million people, a 4.2 percent increase from last year, state officials said.
Tourism in New York fueled $61 billion in spending this year, up 7 percent from 2012, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a report this week.
The increase of about 8.8 million visitors was aided by a state-funded ad campaign and events like the PGA Championship in Rochester and food festivals, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reported today.
“This year my administration made it a priority to showcase the Empire State as the go-to destination for visitors from around the world,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
The report said that the New York tourism industry generated $7.7 billion in state and local tax revenue, up from $7.2 billion a year ago, and led to a 3 percent increase in job growth in the sector. The industry accounts for one in 12 jobs in New York.
Cuomo has boosted funding for tourism and developed new initiatives aimed particularly at drawing tourists and residents in New York City to upstate. It comes after tourism funding was cut for years due to budget woes.
The state spent nearly $60 million this year on tourism, mainly through its revamped “I Love NY” campaign. The state spent $19 million the prior year.
During a Tourism Summit at the Capitol last May, the New York City area transit authorities agreed to do a “Get Outta Town” campaign that promoted upstate through 6,400 posters on platforms, trains, subways and buses.
The state developed a Taste NY initiative for state wine and beer that was promoted through the Governor’s Cup Wine Tour in the Finger Lakes last summer.
Local tourism officials said the event, as well as others, have helped promote their regions. Taste NY participated in roughly 15 events this year, including the Hudson Valley Food and Wine Fest last September in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County.
Tourism leaders said they awaiting regional data on the year’s tourism results.
“[The Governor’s Cup Wine Tour] certainly had positive effects on tourism. We’re still in the process of measuring the success of it,” said Cynthia Kimble, president of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance in Penn Yan, Yates County. “We’ve had more requests for our Finger Lakes Tourism Guide, and we’ve seen an increase in visits to our website; both of those are usually indicators that folks are planning a vacation and use our tools to do that.”
Mary Kay Vrba, executive director of Dutchess County Tourism, said the region continues to gain notice. The Hudson Valley was named as one of the top 20 places in the world to visit this year by the National Geographic Traveler.