New York State’s pandemic-beleaguered tourism industry is getting a $40 million shot in the arm.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday announced the launch of a global campaign geared at revitalizing the state's tourism industry "that has struggled for more than a year." The campaign will promote tourism attractions across the state through the summer, fall and winter seasons as the state begins to welcome back visitors — local, national and international, Cuomo said in a news release.
Phase I of the campaign will focus on New York City, highlighting the destinations, and sights and sounds that are ubiquitous in "the city that never sleeps," while Phase II will center on attractions found in "diverse and unique regions" throughout the state, according to the release.
The promotional spots will appear in digital outlets in select markets internationally, and on television in markets both national and local.
"New York's tourism industry has struggled for more than a year, but as we begin to turn the page on COVID we have a unique opportunity to build something that never existed before and lead the globe in the post-COVID world," Cuomo said in the statement.
"We want the world to know that New York is back and better than ever, and this new global campaign will help to spark the revitalization of our tourism industry by reminding travelers that there is nowhere else in the world like New York State."
The goal of the campaign, Cuomo said, is to entice travelers "to come see it all for themselves."
Domestic and international travelers spent $89.6 billion in New York State in 2019, according to the U.S. Travel Association. The nonprofit trade and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., said visitor spending in the state fell by 56% in 2020.
Long Island's $5.9 billion tourism industry also was badly hurt by the pandemic, said Kristen Reynolds, CEO of Discover Long Island, the area's official tourism promotion agency. Data on how the area fared during 2020 not available.
Long Island’s leisure and hospitality sector employed an average of 95,700 workers from June through August 2020. This was down from 143,500 from the same period in 2019, according to Labor Department data.
Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, told Newsday last week that Long Island is well-positioned to attract tourists this summer because it is "a drive market," ideal for day trips, including beach visits and outings to farms and vineyards.
'Right move, at the right time'
The effort is "the right move, at the right time," said Amir Eylon, president and CEO of Longwoods International, an Ohio-based market research consultancy specializing in the travel and tourism industry.
"The time for destinations to get their messaging out to potential visitors is now," he said, adding that research conducted by his firm showed 9 out of 10 U.S. travelers have travel plans within the next six months.
"Nearly half of them said they plan to travel within the next two months," he said. "The competition to attract visitors is intense and the race is on ... campaigns like this one are especially important right now because 'out of sight' could mean 'out of mind'."
Even so, predicting the return on investment on promotional spending can be tricky, said Eylon, who for nearly 30 years has studied the impact of destination marketing campaigns.
"On average, effective marketing campaigns can generate about $3 or $4 for every $1 invested in the promotion," he said. "Sometimes it's up to $15 to $20 but others, it's much less."
He added: "But news of the $40 million tourism campaign is very encouraging. There's a lot of pent-up demand for travel so we're thinking there's gonna be a big release ... and for a battered industry, it's a good thing, a very good thing."