SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – New York state has started the second phase of a $40 million “I LOVE NY” campaign, meant to convince a pandemic-weary population to vacation in the Empire State.
Two new spots have hit airwaves on TV and online, asking visitors to come to New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said tourism is probably the quickest way to invigorate an economy still reeling from the pandemic. And he said the state’s high vaccination rate and low positivity rate, are also selling points.
“We’re very proud of what we have in upstate New York, and put that together with the new advantage of the super low COVID-positivity rate in the state, and I think it’s going to be a natural tourist destination for people,” Cuomo said. “We just have to get the word out.”
And the tourism industry needs help. Danny Liedke, president of Visit Syracuse, said 70% of a $900 million industry in central New York, was lost in the past year. He said hotel occupancy is rising slowly and convention business that didn’t cancel will soon return. But his advertising budget has been decimated. So, it’s a challenge to boost central New York.
“We’re actually fishing in some ponds we haven’t fished before, like New York City, because we know those folks are looking to get out of the city,” Liedke said. “So, it’s very, very targeted and we do the most with what we have.”
Liedke is hoping some federal-relief funds can be earmarked for the tourism sector, and is optimistic the tourist industry could again be on solid ground by the end of the year.
“We have our fingers crossed.”
Liedke said he’s pleased the latest iteration of the state-tourism campaign will emphasize upstate attractions. Cuomo previewed the ads this week in Syracuse, noting the state promotions would include places like central New York, Niagara Falls, and Alexandria Bay.