New York - New York state Governor Eliot Spitzer has announced plans to improve and expand the "I Love New York" tourism campaign to help foster economic development throughout the state.
As part of the effort, the Governor announced that:
• New York City-based Saatchi & Saatchi has been selected by Empire State Development to run the “I Love New York” campaign. Saatchi & Saatchi is one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing agencies;
• Working with Saatchi & Saatchi, the state will make a special effort to identify opportunities to expand tourist promotion upstate, where tourism currently accounts for 12 percent of employment in some regions;
• The state will seek to expand promotion beyond traditional television, radio and print advertising to include "new" media, as 70 percent of all travel decisions are now made on-line;
• The Governor’s office and Empire State Development have designated chief marketing officers to work with Saatchi & Saatchi to better coordinate overall tourism marketing of the state; and,
• The state budget provides nearly $22 million for tourism promotion efforts including $16 million for the “I Love New York” program, a nearly 50 percent increase over last year, as well as $5.3 million for local tourism matching grants, a $500,000 increase over last year.
Dan Gundersen, Upstate Chairman of Empire State Development, said: "We need to show potential tourists that there's more to New York than simply New York City. This state has world-class natural beauty, unique museums and other cultural attractions, historical sites, and a full range of unmatched recreational opportunities. Think of the boon to the upstate economy if only a small fraction of visitors to New York City extended their stay and spent as little as a single day upstate."
Pat Foye, Downstate Chairman of Empire State Development, said: "There are many untapped opportunities, for example, partnering with leading museums and travel brands to offer promotions and packages that encourage visitors to experience all of New York. In taking a new approach to promoting tourism and reinvigorating 'I Love New York,' we are looking to explore new opportunities and expand our tourism economy."
Mary Baglivo, Chief Executive Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, said: "Our company has New York roots going back to 1921, so we are inspired by this selection to take this iconic brand forward. We understand the economic development imperatives that underpin the campaign, and we look forward to creating new communications that will heighten the emotional energy of New York State for visitors and residents alike."
Dan Murphy, President of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association, said: "The New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association -- 1,400 lodging, parks, and attraction members -- continues to be encouraged and excited by Governor Spitzer's commitment to boosting the visibility of New York State tourism, especially upstate. The Governor recognizes the positive impact travelers have on the state's economy, specifically those visiting upstate communities. In 2005 travelers spent $43.4 billion, generating $4.70 billion in tax revenue."
Expanded tourism promotion was one of the tenets of the Governor's "Renew New York" agenda announced in January. With today's announcement and with earlier accomplishments including property tax relief, business tax reduction and workers' compensation reform, 11 of the top 14 priorities identified in the program have been addressed. The remaining first-year priorities awaiting action include: power plan siting legislation; Wick's Law reform; and brownfields legislation. The Governor has identified those proposals as end-of-session priorities.
The "I Love New York" campaign was officially launched on June 27, 1977 with a commitment of $4.3 million in funding. The objective of the initial campaign was to increase tourist volume by building awareness of New York State as an outdoor, family destination, and position New York against major competition, particularly New England. Today, tourism is a $43 billion industry that employs more than 700,000 people in New York State.