Official: State steps up tourism

JOHNSTOWN – The state’s tourism efforts have increased in various ways during the past month, a Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce official said recently.

Chamber Director of Tourism Gina DaBiere-Gibbs reported to the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development & Environment Committee last week on a variety of recent tourism efforts by the state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

DaBiere-Gibbs said she attended the Empire State Tourism Conference from May 1 to 3 in Niagara Falls. The following week, she said, Cuomo conducted the New York State Tourism Summit in Albany. She said nearly $60 million was committed to growing the tourism industry, creating jobs and attracting more visitors.

She said the state’s plan not only includes more information centers to greet visitors to upstate, but upstate tourism materials will be displayed at an information center in Times Square.

DaBiere-Gibbs said a major theme of the summit was regionalization.

“They want to do a lot more regional marketing,” DaBiere-Gibbs said.

She said Cuomo emphasized that visitors don’t travel by county lines. She said more money is going into tourism through state Consolidated Funding Application grants, where larger projects that partner with several regional counties will be favored.

DaBiere-Gibbs said the only example used at the summit as a successful grant award was Oneida County’s agri-tourism grant to encourage packages and overnight stays. She said Fulton County is one of 10 counties partnering in this grant.

“We are in the beginning phases of this project and gathering information,” the tourism official reported.

She said a group known as Visit Syracuse also hosted a followup strategic planning session May 17. She said the agenda included a summit overview, discussion about the relationship of state organizations, and marketing, product and organizational development.

DaBiere-Gibbs said representatives from the Empire State Development Corp. participated in the Syracuse event and heard suggestions from tourism promotion agencies.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at