LOWVILLE Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo mixed business with pleasure Monday afternoon, announcing a major state-sponsored ad campaign promoting the regions winter sports and spending some time sampling them as well.
Gov. Cuomo used his visit to Lewis County to highlight the economic benefits of winter sports, particularly snowmobiling, and to announce a $4.5 million promotional campaign that will target state, national and international markets via print, radio and television platforms.
This season, we welcome visitors from around the world to experience winter in upstate New York, Gov. Cuomo said in a news release. The north country region is unmatched in its natural beauty and now offers new recreational trails for snowmobiling and a wide variety of other activities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages to explore. As one of the biggest and growing employers in the state, the tourism industry continues to play a significant role in boosting our economy. With our new ad campaign, we want more New Yorkers and tourists to come visit regions like Tug Hill to see what winter adventures await in the Empire State.
Gov. Cuomo was joined at the Ridge View Inn, 6912 Bardo Road, by state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens and several north country state representatives.
Following the announcement, he set off on a tour of the regions snowmobile trails.
Print ads featuring an I [Snowmobile] NY logo a play on the ubiquitous I [Heart] NY insignias will begin running in national newspapers and trade magazines after Jan. 1, according to the governors office.
Home to much of the Tug Hill Plateau, Lewis County is one of the states most popular snowmobile destinations, and its trails form a major part of the local economy.
We need winter sports, state Sen. Elizabeth OC. Little, R-Queensbury, said as she introduced Gov. Cuomo. It really is the north country economy.
According to a study commissioned by the New York State Snowmobilers Association, snowmobiling has an annual statewide economic impact of $868 million.
There are more than 10,000 miles of snowmobile trails in the state, which is more than Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and more than Massachusetts and Michigan combined, the governor said.
Since 2011, the state has spent more than $11 million on trail maintenance and development, which has helped generate that $868 million in economic revenue, according to the governors office.
I thought it was an excellent day very good for Tug Hill and very good for snowmobiling, said John K. Bartow Jr., executive director of the Tug Hill Commission. I think the governor being there personally is a big help in promoting it and the region.
Approximately 90,000 New York households use snowmobiles, and tourism is the third fastest growing job sector in New York, the governors office said.
The state released a report earlier this month that showed the number of visitors to New York increased by 8.8 million in 2013. The industry is projected to generate $7.7 billion in state and local taxes with direct spending expected to reach $61.3 billion up 7 percent from 2012 and double the national average, according to the governors office.
After the announcement, Gov. Cuomo adjourned with his entourage to a line of snowmobiles positioned behind a barn owned by the Valley Snow Travellers snowmobile club.
William B. Tarasek, the president of the club, said a recent grant of $151,600 from the state will help the club purchase a tractor for trail grooming, which continues from mid-December until as late as April 1.
Were elated, Mr. Tarasek said. Its the Tug Hills economy from the day the trails open to late March.
Even though the trails form an integral part of the snowmobile economy, keeping them open is not easy.
We have to watch where we spend our money. Last year we were in the red, Mr. Tarasek said. It takes a small army to run a club like this, 20 dedicated volunteers; theres a lot more to it than a lot of people think.
A sample of the print ads can be viewed at http://wdt.me/oYoR3q.
Video from the announcement can be viewed at http://wdt.me/QQenFZ.