New Yorkers Choosing To Vacation In New York State Will Make A Difference In 2021

Travelers Can ROAM THE EMPIRE and Support New York’s Recovery

In a state-wide collaboration coordinated by the New York State Tourism Industry Association, New York State residents are being asked to "ROAM THE EMPIRE" in 2021.


Destination marketing organizations, museums, attractions, and other tourism-related businesses are rallying New Yorkers to ROAM THE EMPIRE and choose their home state when making their 2021 travel and vacation plans. Organizers of the ROAM THE EMPIRE initiative point to the obvious benefits that will result if New Yorkers choose to explore the Empire State and vacation in-state in 2021.


“In any given year, New York State's diverse destinations and attractions provide great reasons for our fellow New Yorkers to plan their getaways within our borders,” states Bob Provost, President of the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA). “But this year is different. This year, New Yorkers choosing to vacation in New York will make a huge impact. They will help reemploy over 300,000 of their fellow New Yorkers who lost tourism-related jobs during the pandemic in 2020. They will help revitalize local businesses and communities. And they will restore sorely needed state and local tax revenue to help fund our state's economic recovery.”


“The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce salutes the power of travel by connecting our members and partners with prospective travelers, providing educational opportunities for those in the travel and tourism industry, and supporting our members’ and partners’ needs,” said Michael Hardy, Executive Director of the Chamber. “Despite the challenges of the last year, the Watkins Glen Chamber is ready and eager to share our natural wonders, attractions, eateries, farms, and stores with visitors and help drive Schuyler County’s and the Finger Lakes’ recovery efforts. ROAM THE EMPIRE, announced during National Travel and Tourism Week, is an opportunity to remind visitors and residents of the incredible contributions of the travel industry not just to our local economy and workforce, but to our community’s identity and culture.”


In a difficult year for New York’s tourism industry, the ROAM THE EMPIRE campaign was developed pro bono by the highly regarded marketing firm MOWER and is being launched organically with no budget nor paid media planned. Participants statewide are supporting the program through social media, websites, and individual outreach.

About New York State Tourism:
According to NYSTIA, tourism is the third largest industry in New York State. The tourism industry has paid dividends for years to New York's economy, setting new records for economic benefit in each of the past five years. In 2019, the tourism industry attracted 265 million visitors and generated record high levels of impact:

  • $72 Billion in spending at New York State businesses large and small
  • $39 Billion in disposable income and over 961,000 jobs for New York State residents
  • $9+ Billion in state and local taxes, the equivalent of $1,248 for every New York State household.

During the pandemic year of 2020, tourism was inarguably New York's most impacted industry. By year-end 2020, the tourism industry was devastated:

  • Average annual employment declined 34%, a loss of over 330,000 jobs vs 2019 - nearly three times the employment impact in any other major category.
  • An estimated 56% loss in travel spending and a corresponding 45% drop in tax revenues, the third most severely impacted state in the country.


“Ultimately, in Schuyler County, after an extremely intense and non-stop ‘busy season’ (July into and through late Fall) in 2020, many area tourism-related businesses saw record breaking numbers,” said Hardy. “These unprecedented numbers during a pandemic did not come without sacrifices and cost as well as a heavy toll on resources in all categories, and not all businesses were able to operate at that pace – if at all.”