Trade show provides boost to area’s tourism efforts

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Efforts to draw travel and tourism to the area are getting a boost this week.

Domestic and international travel trade operators are the target audience of the annual Destinations of New York Travel Trade Show at Turning Stone Resort Casino.

The show, which began Sunday and ends this afternoon, seeks to match tourism buyers, like motorcoach operators and tour organizers, with tourism sellers, like attractions and hotels.

“It’s very important to have them in our marketplace,” said Oneida County Tourism President Kelly Blazosky.

“Having that firsthand knowledge is important. It’s all about building relationships,” she added.

Familiarization tours to attractions and places of interest in the region are a major component of the event. By Monday afternoon there had already been outings to places like F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica.

“The travel trade industry is a very important partner in generating domestic and international visitation across New York state, and we hope this show will encourage even more operators to include our world-class attractions and destinations in their offerings,” said Ross D. Levi, executive director of tourism, I Love New York.

Besides tours to highlight what the region has to offer visitors, there’s was a show at Turning Stone featuring industry exhibitors showcasing attractions, destinations, resorts and events from throughout the East Coast.

“Travel and tourism is vital to our local economy,” said Blazosky. “It’s important that we collaborate as a region on programs like this to host travel trade operators, showcase our destinations, and highlight the diverse offering of attractions, activities, culinary experiences, accommodations, history and heritage Central New York can offer.”

She added, “We are building relationships that will generate business long into the future.”

Visitor spending topped $2.2 billion and supported 35,609 jobs in Central New York in 2016, according to a study done for the I Love New York tourism promotion program.

In Oneida County alone, the economic impact of tourism was placed at a record $1.421 billion, representing an 8.8 percent increase over 2015.

“I am extremely impressed” with the impact of tourism on Oneida County, said Legislator Philip M. Sacco, D-9, Deerfield. TheBoard of Legislators’ minority leader, he spoke briefly at the trade show Monday.

Ed Allmann, Turning Stone vice president for sales and marketing, spoke about how the show’s host in the town of Verona began as a “muddy cornfield” 24 years ago and has become a “world-class destination resort.”

Last year’s Destinations of New York Travel Trade Show was in Syracuse.

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