New York State Awards More than $90 Million Through Regional Council Initiative to Support Tourism Projects Statewide

60 Projects Awarded Nearly $15 Million in Market New York Funding to Encourage and Promote Tourism in New York State

December 20, 2018

Full List of the 2018 REDC Awards is Available at

Empire State Development's Division of Tourism today announced that more than $90 million in funding was awarded to support tourism-related projects this week during Round VIII of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) awards. Included in these awards was nearly $15 million for 60 projects through the state's Market New York grant program, designed specifically to strengthen tourism and attract visitors to New York State by promoting destinations, attractions and special events, and as well as supporting tourism-related capital improvement projects.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Tourism is a great success story and tremendous economic engine across New York State. When domestic and international visitors travel to our communities to enjoy our world-class attractions, they are spending billions of dollars and supporting our small businesses and tourism industry jobs."

Tourism is now the state's third largest employer, responsible for 938,800 jobs annually. Last year, New York State welcomed a record-high 243.8 million visitors who spent $67.6 billion, supporting a total economic impact of more than $100 billion for the fourth straight year.

Awards include support for capital projects at New York State's world-class museums, arts and music venues, and funds for festivals, events and regional tourism marketing initiatives. Regional Council funding will encourage agritourism growth by supporting projects at some of the state's craft beverage producers, now numbering more than 1,000 statewide. Additional projects will further the state's tourism infrastructure, creating a destination that is welcoming, family-friendly and a place where everyone can find what they love.

This year, several projects from across the state were awarded to coincide with WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall50. WorldPride, the largest international LGBT Pride celebration, is coming to New York in 2019, marking the first time it has been held in the United States. The commemoration includes marches, performances and festivals that promote LGBT pride. This coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising where, in June 1969, LGBT community members held spontaneous demonstrations at New York City's Stonewall Inn, considered by many as the catalyst for the modern LGBT rights movement.

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "New York State continues to support vital capital projects and innovative marketing initiatives by public and private tourism partners across the state. These awards complement the funding and efforts dedicated to the I LOVE NY promotional campaign. While some other states are severely cutting back their tourism funding, New York’s leadership recognizes the incredible value of investing in this booming industry."

Market New York launched in 2012 as part of Round II of the REDC initiative, offering up to $3 million to support tourism projects. Since its inception, the program has awarded more than $80 million to support 375 projects across the state. Market New York supports various tourism marketing initiatives, from capital and construction projects, to special events and consumer and industry trade shows. The program works to ensure that each funded proposal will complement and support the long-term strategic plans for economic growth as put forth by the REDCs.

More than $760 million in state resources was awarded through 30 programs and 11 agencies during Round VIII of the initiative. Information on all REDC Round VIII Awards, including tourism-related and Market New York-supported projects, is available online at

About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative is a key component of Governor Cuomo's approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils 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.

After eight rounds of the REDC process, more than $6.1 billion has been awarded to more than 7,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 230,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit

About New York State
New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York’s attractions feature landmarks such as Niagara Falls, the largest park in the continental U.S. in the Adirondacks and treasures such as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester. New York State offers diverse activities for all: outdoor fun- snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding, fishing, hiking and boating, year-round festivals and exploring the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies. Visitors also enjoy the fine cuisine, beverage trails and farm-to-table fresh foods. For more information, visit


Adam Ostrowski | [email protected] | (518) 292-5148
ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313