20 APR 2015: Think of New York and a dynamo of cosmopolitanism, comes to mind for many with towering skyscrapers, Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. On the other hand a group of New York tourism representatives arrived in Toronto to share a list of the state’s happenings that could fuel many ideas for your clients who want an add-on to their New York City vacation or for those who just feel like embarking on an easy drive destination.

The Consul General of the United States of America, Jim Dickmeyer, the US Commercial Service and the I Love New York, New York State Division of Tourism hosted a networking session with local media to showcase regional offerings.

Markly Wilson, the international marketing director for the New York State Division of Tourism, relayed how Canada remains the top foreign market for New York State tourism. “You produce more visitors and spend more money than any other foreign state,” he started and continued the value of this relationship has grown over the past few years.

“The investment of the ‘I Love New York’ campaign to promote the state to Canada has been greater than it has ever been,” Wilson said and his office hopes consumers will rethink the logo to consider adding on other areas of New York state as part of a New York City vacation.

“The fact is New York is much more,” he said and explained the tourism office would like to showcase different ways to increase clients’ interests in planning future visits.

The Consul General observed that there’s an intricate relationship between Canada and the United States in trade and travel. “When we think of the daily myriad of contacts and movements between our countries at any given day there’s US $2-billion of trade that goes back and forth. There are thousands of trucks that go back and forth and there are thousands of people that cross back and forth. We leverage each other’s bounties and beauties.”

Now for the travel planners New York State guide:

Country Byways (http://www.countrybyways.com/)

Halfway between Buffalo and Rochester there is a gateway to the Greater Niagara and Finger Lakes regions known as the Country Byways.

So why visit?

As Megan Nulty, vice-president of tourism and marketing for Wyoming County Chamber and Tourism in Perry, New York (http://www.wycochamber.org/ ) points out nine times out of 10 Canadians are already going through this hub but just don’t realize it.

“So what we’re asking is to stop and spend a little time with us,” she says and offers three top reasons:

• Home to Darien Lake, New York state’s largest water and theme park

• Arcade and Attica Railroad, the last steam engine train operating in the state, is a huge hit especially during the fall foliage season.

• Then there’s the home of Letchworth State Park, which has just been chosen as the best state park in the United States by readers of USA Today.

A Welcome Surprise

Ninety minutes from the US-Canadian border there's lots aimed at Canadians in hopes that your clients to stick around longer in such regions as the fabled Finger Lakes, Genesee Valley and Upstate New York with Rochester and Syracuse.

Top three surprise welcomes:

1. The burgeoning craft beer scene: “There’s an explosion in new breweries, distilleries, and cideries to add to our wine region.” says Nicole Mahoney, rep with a Welcome Surprise.

2. The culinary scene has some spin-off themes such as the Sweet Treat Trail and the Cheese Trail. The sweet treats, in its third year, could be a staple for the client with the sweet tooth because it offers everything sweets-related. Think honey, maple syrup, cookies and ice cream.

3. The newly expanded Corning Museum in Corning New York has doubled its size. The museum is popular with families. Youth and kids, 17 years and under have free admission. “The museum enlarged the glass blowing theatre for live demos. It is 360 degrees now of viewing space so you can watch glass blowing from all angles.”

Agents and clients can find discounts and program information at awelcomesurprise.com

Rochester

For clients who have not been to Rochester, expect to see a city that’s brimming with culture and is packed with popular family attractions.

Patti Donoghue, who many in the industry have known for years, is newly retired from her role as vice-president of communications and membership at VisitRochester (http://www.visitrochester.com/) but she doesn’t let that “R” word slow her down. “I just started retirement 15 days ago and my first assignment was to visit our Canadian neighbours. Seeing old friends is great,” she says about her continued flexible casual work with the office.

Always a great resource, Patti relayed some great teasers for a visit. “We have 12,000 acres of parkland, we are wonderful with families with the National Museum of Play there,” she says and adds, “We have a lot of history in Rochester with the George Eastman House and a great jazz festival coming up in June.”

To boot, Rochester could make for a favourable weekend couple’s getaway for the shopper and golf fan. There is a nice variety of malls from which to choose in the area and the famous Oak Hill Country Club. “It’s just a dream, everyone who has played at the Oak Hill Country Club loved playing there,” she says of championship golf course.

Finger Lakes

Known for the wines and gorgeous lakes, one of the best trails, says Sue Schmidt, vice-president of sales for the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection is the Canandaigua Wine Trail. “We have many breweries that are associate partners who are part of the wine trail and we’re finding people like to mix it up a bit,” she says of the combo wine and beer experience.

A promotional pamphlet describes how the region has an 80 percent repeat traveller ratio. It seems folks love to return to this vacation heartland. Discover specialty products made in the area by colourful locals like the Wizard of Clay (three generations of pottery makers) too.

Popular activities around the Finger Lakes include photography, artists’ workshops, family attractions, and ample sightseeing.

 http://www.fingerlakes.org/

 

 

New York State

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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