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

Grants Awarded Through REDC Initiative to 69 Capital and Working Capital Projects Across New York State

Full List of REDC Awardees Thus Far 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 69 projects across New York State through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Market New York funding supports tourism facility 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.

"The projects represented by these Market New York awards illustrate the breadth and beauty of New York State’s many arts, cultural and visitor attractions," Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, Chair of the Statewide Regional Economic Development Councils, said. "This program ensures that New York State's tourism offerings across our remarkable regions continue to reflect the diverse and unique interests of residents and visitors alike."

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Tourism is vital to our communities; it showcases the best of New York State, and visitor spending supports small businesses, jobs and regional economies. Market New York funding helps to ensure that the state's tourism partners can reach new markets and audiences, and enables destinations to upgrade, grow and expand to encourage sustainable economic growth."

ESD Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "Beyond serving as New York's destination marketing organization, Empire State Development and the Division of Tourism support the state’s vital tourism industry through initiatives like tourism job fairs, educational programming, and funding opportunities like Market New York. The projects awarded Market New York grants will help give travelers even more reasons to come be a part of all there is to love in New York State all year long."

The tourism and hospitality sector is a pillar of New York's economy; it is the state's third largest industry, supporting one in 11 private sector jobs. Visitation in New York State sustains an economic impact of $85.5 billion and generates enough in state and local taxes to save every household in the state more than $1,000 annually. Coupled with New York's engaging marketing campaigns and Governor Kathy Hochul's record-setting post-pandemic industry support programs, projects awarded funding through Market New York help to promote the state diverse regions as world-class travel destinations, sparking economic growth and creating jobs.

Awardees include:

  • Lake George Music Festival (Capital Region) – $40,000 Working Capital Grant: The Lake George Music Festival (LGMF), an internationally-recognized classical music festival, plans to use grant funds to promote a new initiative called the LGMF "Plus Pass." This summer events series promotion will market a season pass valid at the Lake George Music Festival's summer performances and events, plus several other cultural and scenic tourist attractions, increasing local and regional visitation.
  • CNY Arts, Inc. (Central New York) – $150,000 Working Capital Grant: CNY Arts will utilize grant funds for a marketing campaign designed to promote and raise the visibility of Central New York’s Arts Community. The campaign will attract new and returning visitors to (re)discover the region and its rich cultural activities and expand their experience of the region, promoting return visits.
  • University of Rochester/Memorial Art Gallery (Finger Lakes) – $45,000 Working Capital Grant: The Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) will develop a marketing plan to attract increased visitation from within a six-hour drive of Rochester to an interactive experience exhibition, created by the internationally-recognized artist Yayoi Kusama, that will be on view at MAG from late 2023 through spring 2024.
  • Southold Historical Society (Long Island) – $67,000 Capital Grant: Southold Historical Museum will use the funds to support the planning and implementation of a tourism marketing plan with the goal to showcase the museum's significance on a regional, national and international basis.
  • Dia Art Foundation (Mid-Hudson) – $400,000 Capital Grant: Dia Art Foundation will use grant funds for critical renovations, including facade restoration addressing climate control/energy efficiency issues; relandscaping of an area impacting accessibility; creating more accessible gender neutral and family restrooms; and replacement of the HVAC system.
  • Integrated Community Alternatives Network (ICAN) (Mohawk Valley) – $425,000 Capital Grant: ICAN will use funding for a second project phase which is to purchase, construct, and install museum exhibits for Utica Children’s Museum, offering learning experiences that reflect and represent the region, and elevating the museum’s profile through rebranding and website development
  • NYCxD, Inc. (New York City) – $505,000 Working Capital Grant: NYCxDESIGN will host NYC's Annual Design Week, highlighting thousands of New York City’s creatives and design businesses by hosting events across the city’s five boroughs. The project will expand impact through new programming that will drive more visitors to New York City and target inclusive growth for local businesses.
  • Town of Massena (North Country) – $41,000 Working Capital Grant: The Town of Massena will use grant funds to increase important branding and marketing support for major fishing tournaments, as part of the community's continuing efforts to make Massena the fishing capital of the Northeast and a worldwide tourism destination.
  • Opera Ithaca (Southern Tier) – $75,000 Working Capital Grant: The 2023 Opera Ithaca will use the funding to plan and promote extended outreach for a special event in the Southern Tier. This event will expand upon the past marketing campaigns with an anticipated increase in overnight tourism.
  • The Aquarium of Niagara (Western New York) – $900,000 Capital Grant, $100,000 Working Capital Grant: The Aquarium of Niagara will use the tourism capital grant to fund a portion of the construction costs to open a new cultural attraction in the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. The marketing funds will be used to directly appeal to visitors through a regionally-based, multi-pronged advertising campaign.

To further support the state's tourism industry, ESD continues to accept applications for the Meet in New York and the Tourism Return-to-Work programs. The Meet In New York grant program was established to encourage the return of conferences, meetings and trade shows by covering a portion of event-based discounts; more information is available here. The Tourism Return-to-Work program provides financial assistance to tourism industry businesses that create jobs previously lost due to COVID-19 pandemic economic hardship. More information, including the program application, is available here.

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 booming 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; North America's longest, fastest and highest zipline; 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