Empire State Development Announces Nearly $15 Million In Market New York Funding Awarded To Support Tourism Statewide

November 15, 2023

Grants Awarded Through REDC Initiative to 59 Capital and Working Capital Projects Across New York State

Full List of REDC Awardees To-Date Can be Found Here

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that nearly $15 million has been awarded through the Market New York program to support 59 projects across New York State through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Market New York funding supports tourism capital improvement projects and regionally-themed marketing projects that promote travel destinations, attractions and special events. The program and projects supported through its funding align with each region's long-term strategic plans for economic growth. In total, nearly $122 million has been awarded through the Market New York program to assist over 640 regional tourism projects across the state.

"New York is home to countless unique and diverse attractions throughout the state that welcome visitors from around the world," said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, Chair of the Statewide Regional Economic Development Councils. "This year's Market New York awards will help to support new projects and promotional efforts that will further grow our tourism economy, support our communities, and promote world-class destinations."

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "The tourism and hospitality industry is one of New York State's economic pillars, generating revenue and supporting jobs in communities from Niagara Falls to Montauk Point. Through the Market New York program, we continue to work together with our tourism partners to encourage greater visitation and catalyze new regional economic growth."

ESD Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "Market New York grants help bring tourism capital projects from concept to reality, and provide working capital to promote and encourage visitors to experience unique New York State attractions, activities and events. The program enables local and regional partners to complement and further amplify I LOVE NY's efforts promoting tourism throughout the entire state. The nearly 60 projects across the state awarded funding this year – representing so many different themes and interests – will show visitors and residents alike how easy it is to love New York."

The Market New York program provides flexibility for applicants to identify projects that will strengthen tourism and attract visitors to New York State by promoting destinations, attractions and special events. Particular consideration is given to projects that closely align with I LOVE NY areas of concentration, including showcasing New York's world-class destinations, spurring international tourism, promoting outdoor recreation, engaging the travel trade, focusing on niche tourism segments and highlighting large scale special events like those related to the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

Projects awarded funding through Market New York Round 13 include:

  • Art Omi, Inc. (Capital Region) – $2 Million Capital Grant: The arts center located in Ghent, Columbia County will use the grant to fund a portion of a major capital project that will include 18 pavilions, anchored by a visitor's center.
  • Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park (Central New York) – $432,000 Capital Grant: This Syracuse zoo will use grant funds to construct a Botanical Garden and replace the existing audio/video equipment with a state-of-the-art enhanced system.
  • Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Inc. (Finger Lakes) – $118,000 Working Capital Grant: In collaboration with the ROC2024 Total Solar Eclipse Task Force, the Philharmonic will use the grant funds to host and promote a special community concert at Blue Cross Arena on Sunday, April 7, the evening preceding the eclipse.
  • Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (Long Island) – $125,000 Working Capital Grant: Located in Stony Brook, Suffolk County, the Hall of Fame will use tourism marketing funding to host and promote a year-long exhibition featuring the life and music of world-renowned artist Billy Joel with the debut of the "Billy Joel-My Life" exhibit.
  • Phoenix Theatre Ensemble (Mid-Hudson) – $120,000 Working Capital Grant: Funding will support the theatre's efforts to host and promote the Phoenix Festival: Live Arts tourism special event welcoming visitors to experience New York's Hudson Valley.
  • Oneida County (Mohawk Valley) – $125,000 Working Capital Grant: Funding will support the county's promotional efforts for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Women's Championship, a 16-day tournament that is expected to bring more than 80,000 visitors to the Mohawk Valley.
  • BRIC Arts Media (New York City) – $75,000 Working Capital Grant: Funding will support marketing and promotional activities for BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! (BCB) Festival season. BCB is New York City's longest-running free summer music and performing arts festival, featuring local and global artists, with a reach of more than 250,000 people annually.
  • Sandy Main, Inc. (North Country) – $97,400 Working Capital Grant: The Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, will use the funding to promote a tourism initiative around the April 8 solar eclipse. This project will enhance accommodation capacity, foster regional partnerships, and showcase the beauty of the Adirondack region.
  • Tanglewood Community Nature Center, Inc. (Southern Tier) – $600,000 Capital Grant: The Nature Center will use grant funds to support a portion of the costs to construct a Canopy Walkway in the heart Elmira, Chemung County, creating a new perspective for the natural environment, and bringing people eye-level with the tree canopy and its many inhabitants.
  • Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. (Western New York) –$100,000 Working Capital Grant: Funding will support the development and implementation of Freedom's Footsteps, a destination marketing initiative designed to promote and generate economic activity in Buffalo's African American heritage sector. By sharing the previously untold stories of Buffalo’s African American heritage, the Freedom’s Footsteps initiative will inspire visitation to the area and overall region.

A full list of projects awarded through the REDC initiative can be found here.

Governor Kathy Hochul has supported and prioritized New York’s tourism industry – one of the state's key economic drivers. The governor recently announced record-breaking visitation and tourism spending in New York State with more than 291 million visitors generating more than $78.6 billion in direct spending in 2022. Under her leadership, new programs like the I LOVE NY Black travel initiative have been launched to expand visitation, and the historic "Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs" pandemic recovery package supported travel industry businesses and employees, and brought new events to the state. Earlier this year, the governor announced more than $14 million in grants were awarded to 30 local and regional destination marketing organizations through the EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Awards Grant Program. Additionally, Governor Hochul has announced game changing improvements to tourism infrastructure like state parks and airports, as well as comprehensive I LOVE NY marketing efforts to encourage travel throughout New York State.

About the Consolidated Funding Application

The Consolidated Funding Application was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single-entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive. Learn more about the CFA here.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of the State’s approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, 10 Regional Councils were established to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. Learn more at regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

About New York State

New York State is a premier vacation destination with world-class attractions, picturesque natural beauty, locally sourced cuisine and a vibrant craft beverage scene, an array of accommodations, and iconic, year-round festivals and events. Its 11 diverse vacation regions feature some of the world's top ranked beaches; two out of America's top three favorite state parks; breathtaking Niagara Falls; more ski areas than any other state; one of the nation's longest foliage seasons; multiple Halls of Fame; the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States; and the country's longest multi-use trail. Add in the state's unique museums, historic landmarks, cultural sites, charming small towns and urban playgrounds, and it's no wonder New York has been consistently chosen as a top getaway by travel publications and experts. To help plan your next New York State vacation, visit www.iloveny.com.

ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313