Senator Michelle Hinchey and NYS Hospitality & Tourism Association Announce $3.45 Million to Support New York State Tourism

(Left to Right) Ward Todd, President & CEO of Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, Lisa Berger, Director of Ulster County Tourism, Senator Michelle Hinchey, Mark Dorr, President of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association, Discover Albany President and CEO, Jill Delaney, Chris Silva, Executive Director of Ulster Performing Arts Center, and Heather Bagshaw, Tourism Director of the Greene County Tourism & Film Office.
Hinchey Instrumental in Securing $1 Million Restoration to Matching Grants in Support of Tourism Promotion

KINGSTON, N.Y. (May 18, 2021) – Today, at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, State Senator Michelle Hinchey (D-Saugerties) joined New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association President, Mark Dorr, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, President & CEO of the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce Ward Todd, and tourism industry leaders from Ulster, Greene, and Albany Counties to announce funding for the tourism Matching Grants Program included in the recently enacted State Budget that will bring public and private dollars together to promote local tourism. Senator Hinchey was instrumental in securing the restoration of $1 million to the program, for a total of $3.45 million this year, which will aid in the tourism industry’s recovery from setbacks caused by the year-long pandemic.

The Tourism Matching Grants Program is a state-funded assistance program utilized by county and regional Tourism Promotion Agencies (TPAs) which are charged with researching, advertising, and marketing New York’s top tourism destinations. This competitive grants program is one of the few remaining public-private partnerships where the state matches private TPA funding dollar-for-dollar, doubling the money used for targeted tourism promotion.

In 2019, New York State’s direct visitor spending and visitation numbers created a total economic impact of $117.6 billion dollars, supporting close to 1 million jobs. According to data from 2019, New York State hosted a record 265 million visitors, with $73.6 billion spent at local businesses, generating $19.3 billion in state tax revenues and saving about $9.1 billion in state and local taxes.

“New York is a world-class tourism destination that offers unparalleled diversity of activities from sports to outdoor recreation to arts and cultural attractions. This sector is an important cornerstone of our state’s economy and we need to do all that we can to revive and bolster it after a very challenging year,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “As the primary economic driver for many of our upstate communities, we’ve felt the devastating hit our tourism industry has taken because of the pandemic, which is why I fought so hard to secure funding for the state’s Matching Grants Program to help ensure tourism in New York comes back stronger than ever. This competitive grants process will give our tourism agencies, including those in Ulster, Greene, and Albany Counties, the opportunity to double their funding to promote their destinations, and, in turn, boost our local economies. We need every piece of funding to keep tourism alive in our region, and I will continue to do everything I can to support a full recovery in this vital sector.” 

“As the statewide tourism advocacy group, the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association works closely with all facets of the industry (ski areas, campgrounds, amusement parks, water parks, museums, etc.), and we greatly appreciate the Senator’s support,” said Mark Dorr, President of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association. “We look forward to working with Senator Hinchey for many years to come.”

“We are grateful to Senator Hinchey for her work and leadership in securing the money needed to have a robust statewide tourism promotion program,” said Lisa Berger, Director of Ulster County Tourism. “The hospitality and tourism business accounts for more than 9,500 jobs in Ulster County. Before the pandemic, travelers spent $684.6 million dollars here and generated more than 44,400 million dollars in state and county sales tax. We commend Michelle for her critical role in restoring this much needed funding and look forward to her continued support of our industry for many years to come.”   

“As the Tourism Promotion Agency for Albany County, Discover Albany works hand in hand with our tourism partners in the Capital- Saratoga Vacation Region and Hudson Valley Tourism, both of which cross into Senator Hinchey’s district,” said Discover Albany President and CEO, Jill Delaney. “Without Matching Funds, it is nearly impossible for smaller destinations to effectively partner with those with larger budgets, and those partnerships are essential to our recovery. We are so grateful for the Senator’s support.”

“We are very appreciative of Senator Hinchey’s support for tourism,” said Heather Bagshaw, Tourism Director of the Greene County Tourism & Film Office. “The Tourism Matching Funds program allows for New York State-designated Tourism regions like, CATS and HVT, to market themselves as a unique tourism destination.”