Central New York could be seeing more tourists from places such as China, the U.K., Ireland and Australia thanks to the I Love New York Campaign. For the past few days, about 50 motorcoach and tour operators have been sightseeing what the area has to offer. Visit Syracuse President David Holder says the tourism industry will grow if there is a relationship between tour operators and local tourist sites.
“For the group tour industry it’s all about relationship building," Holder said. "Showing them, making them familiar with the area, constantly bombarding them with that brand message. For their tour operator itself it’s all building that relationship so they see there’s a person in visit Syracuse that’s going to take care of my business. I see that there’s plenty to do in the Syracuse area. I can’t wait to go there.”
Since 2012, tourism experts at Visit Syracuse have been heavily promoting Destiny USA and other destinations. Holder says they are seeing great results, but could be more tourist friendly.
“Clearly leisure, great place to visit great place for convention, great place for sports events," Holder said. "When we realize that we’ll put the right signage in place. And then it’s all of matter of, let’s keep the streets clean let’s really make certain we’re rolling out the right red carpet for everyone. And it’s not just being nice, it’s about really showing off. We’re at the point now in Syracuse we need to be showing off. When people come here they are floored by how great the area is. “
The wealth of seasonal tourism is just waiting for travelers in the U.K. That’s according to Martin Court who serves as the I Love New York Sales and Marketing Director based out of London.
“Looking at ultimate New York State as an alternative to Massachusetts and New England which we think will be very good for the U.K. market," Court said. "Also looking at lifestyle angles, we’re looking at playing golf in New York State. We’re looking at cuisine, people love cuisine and eating food in different countries.”
INTERNATIONAL TOURISM OPERATORS RESPOND FAVORABLY
State International Marketing Director Martin Wilson Says nature and outdoor activities help foster a relationship between travelers and the environment. When tourist visit Central New York for the first time, Wilson says their recognition of their own culture is an important aspect that attracts them.
“Everyone is interested in their heritage and who is connected to them," Wilson said. "There are Germans, Italians, Brits, and Chinese that are in Central New York. So the operators that we’re bringing from our offices in these countries are also looking to see connections that are in central New York, because that is a reason that cause people to travel. And those are some elements that makes Central New York.”
I Love New York campaign has successfully brought travelers from other countries. German campaign tourism director Robert Keysselitz says the city is the catalyst, but bringing them to the rest of the state is really exciting.
“When we started to educate the German market about that New York is much bigger than the city," Keysselitz said. "It was eye opening to people, they did not know. It is the unknown and it’s a fantastic access you have. Doesn’t matter if it’s Hudson Valley, if it’s the Finger Lakes regions. It is amazing what people get to see. And Germans are nature lovers; we like to explore, we like to hike, we like to walk, we like to be outdoors.”
The hope is that tour operators decide to develop tourism packages to Central New York once they return to their countries. Tourism pumps an estimated $850 million annually into the local economy.