Tourism major factor in Ulster recovery, says Ryan

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KINGSTON – State Senator Michelle Hinchey (D, Saugerties) announced on Tuesday an increase of $1 million to the state’s Tourism Matching Funds Program, bringing the total funding to $3.45 million in the FY 2022 state budget.

This funding will benefit the 50-plus counties that have approved tourism promotion agencies, especially counties with many tourism attractions like Ulster County, where tourism is the second-largest employer and brings in millions annually in tax revenue. It will also provide some relief from the difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

The match program is one of few remaining state private/public partnerships and offers a one-to-one match in funding for county tourism agencies.

Ulster County Director of Tourism Lisa Berger said even though the county still brought in $1.67 million in tax revenue from their two percent occupancy tax during the pandemic, the matching program is still essential for the county’s tourism.

“Ulster County relies on New York State’s Matching Funds Program to leverage our own investment and to bolster local and regional marketing and promotional campaigns,” said Berger.

County Executive Pat Ryan said tourism will be a major factor in the economic recovery of the county following the pandemic, making this funding even more necessary.

“In Ulster County, this is absolutely one of the main drivers of our economy and therefore, will become one of the main drivers of our recovery coming out of this incredibly difficult year. This is really just more fuel to put into that great engine of economic growth and recovery,” said Ryan.

Hinchey added that with New York State being a world-renowned tourism destination, it is important to make sure there are funds to support the growth and promotion of tourism as travel restrictions become more lenient and the pandemic slows.

“New York is a tourism destination and we need to do all that we can to protect it and to bolster it, especially after a year like the one that we’ve all just experienced,” said Hinchey. “In state tourism and bringing more people from outside, if people are able to get back on planes and go for road trips, is so critically important right now,” she said.

Counties will be able to apply for the match based on a formula with very many determining variables, but on average, each county can expect to receive an approximate $60,000 in funding before the match.