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No cold hearts here

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Last summer, when temperatures were just a tad warmer, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ventured to Waddington to promote tourism in the north country during the Bassmaster Elite Series fishing tournament held in August.

The governor has returned here with tourism again on his mind. But while he’s traded his fishing rod for a snowmobile, the goal remains the same.

On Monday, Gov. Cuomo was at the Tug Hill region in Lowville to discuss the $4.5 million advertising campaign the state has initiated to promote winter sports throughout upstate New York. The ads highlight the theme of “I [Snowmobile] NY,” the first part of an overall campaign to publicize nationwide the many recreational activities in Northern New York through print, radio, television and digital media.

“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.”

The campaign slogan is a play on the renowned “I [Heart] NY” ads, which began in the late 1970s to promote tourism in New York City. The new print ads began appearing in national newspapers and trade publications Jan. 1.

“Earlier this month, the state released a report showing that the number of visitors to New York increased by 8.8 million, a 4.2 percent increase in 2013. In addition, 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 news release. “The industry is also projected to add 24,800 jobs by the end of the year, a 3.1 percent increase from 2012, also double the national average. In total, leisure and hospitality [are] projected to finish the year with 818,700 jobs, making tourism the third fastest-growing job sector in New York.

“There are 10,300 miles of snowmobile trails throughout New York — that’s more than Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and more than Massachusetts and Michigan combined,” the news release reported. “Since 2011, the state has spent more than $11 million for trail maintenance and development, an investment that has helped generate $868 million in economic revenue. Approximately 90,000 New York households snowmobile.”

It is good to see Gov. Cuomo become personally involved in promoting tourism in the north country, and it was fun watching him display his snowmobile skills at Tug Hill. And the ad campaign is right on target: From skiing, snowmobiling and skating to sledding, snowboarding and ziplining, Northern New York has everything a winter enthusiast could want. Let’s hope it yields the desired results and enhances tourism here, which will benefit our bottom line.

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