Category Archives: Travel and Tourism

State boosts polar bear investment in Buffalo

New York is investing in a new Arctic Edge habitat for the Buffalo Zoo’s polar bears.  The state is providing the final $750,000 needed to finance the $14 million project.

Governor Cuomo announced that, with New York State’s assistance, the Buffalo Zoo will close its current funding gap and move forward with an $18 million new entry complex and state-of-the-art habitat for polar bears and other Arctic species.

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council named the Arctic Edge exhibit a regional priority in 2011, as it aligns with the council’s tourism and smart growth strategies. Funding commitments from public sources include $3 million from Erie County, $1.085 million from the City of Buffalo, $776,000 from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), $400,000 from Senator Mark Grisanti and the western New York Senate delegation, $400,000 from Assemblyman Sean Ryan and the western New York Assembly delegation, $150,000 from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) and $15,500 from the Buffalo City Council.

The Buffalo Zoo’s Arctic Edge, which will create 228 construction jobs, will be more than 60,000 square feet (1.5 acres) in size and replicate the snowy, frozen climate of the Arctic Circle.

Bountiful New York wine and grape harvest

According to Governor Cuomo, grape growers from all across the state report an abundant harvest.  While figures from this year’s harvest are not yet available, reports from all sections of the state have been extremely positive with many grape growers reporting an abundant harvest of superb fruit.

Long Island had the best harvest in terms of warm, dry weather throughout the fall. While the rest of the state had more variable weather, it still ended up with a great quality harvest.  New York grapes, particularly varieties from Western New York, are also used in a number of other products including various juices and jellies. New York ranks third nationally in wine and grape production, with the crop value estimated at $52.3 million in 2012.

Visit the “Taste NY” website to view a video about this year’s harvest and some of the reforms spearheaded by Governor Cuomo to grow New York’s wine industry.

In October 2012, Governor Cuomo launched the first-ever Beer, Wine and Spirits Summit where he listened to concerns brought forth by members of the industry and announced a series of measures to cut through red tape and improve the business climate for the state’s beverage producers.  A regional summit was held by administration officials in Hyde Park  last week where the industry praised the progress that has been made over the past year.

To find a winery near you, visit the Open New York website.

New online NY guide for sustainable tourism

A new online guide to sustainable travel in New York will launch today offering bookable itineraries.  Produced by New York State in partnership with, a leading international travel organization and pioneer in sustainable and responsible tourism, the goal is to increase tourism while conserving the state’s natural resources.

The Responsible Travel Guide to New York State provides an overview of the culture, history and ecology of each of New York’s regions. An easy-to-navigate format invites eco-oriented travelers to discover many lesser known and authentic aspects of New York State.

View the guide at:

Regional Beer, Wine & Spirits Summit

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC), in partnership with Taste NY, held its first regional Beer, Wine & Spirits Summit at the Culinary Institute of America to support the regional beverage industry and promote locally-produced beer, wine, cider and spirits sales and tourism. The event drew more than 200 industry representatives from throughout Hudson Valley. The HVEDC’s Food & Beverage Alliance organized a roundtable discussion focusing on the challenges and growth opportunities available in the industry specific to the Hudson Valley region following Governor Cuomo’s statewide summit held last October.

State officials, economic development leaders and industry representatives in attendance provided information on the Taste NY initiative, expanding beverage trails, the state’s new One-Stop Shop and an update on state liquor regulations as well as the local wine industry.

The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporations’ Food & Beverage Alliance hosted the summit to discuss ways to grow the already prosperous beverage industry into an even greater sector for the Hudson Valley. The event addressed a variety of topics, including exploring business-to-business needs, industry policies at the state and federal levels, workforce training and education initiatives including funding opportunities, access to capital through loan and grant programs, and networking.

New York is now home to nearly 520 wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries. Producers account for more than $22 billion in annual total economic impact in the state and support tens of thousands of jobs statewide. The state ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production, has the second-most distilleries, and three of the top-producing 20 brewers in the United States are located in New York.

Superstorm Sandy anniversary

As New York state and other states impacted by Superstorm Sandy mark the first anniversary today, Governor Cuomo announced a new Sandy Tourism Campaign called “Come See the Comeback” to promote tourism in recovering communities.

The campaign highlights the progress these communities have made in rebuilding after the storm and that they are ready to welcome visitors once again. The campaign features MTA transit discounts and promotions to promote travel.  A series of ads were also unveiled featuring recovering on Long Island, New York City and upstate communities.

Today, to mark the anniversary of Sandy,  the MTA is also offering free rides on the A subway line between Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula and stations on the R subway line between Bay Ridge-95th Street and Court Street.

The Governor also announced $815 million in funding for a series of Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding infrastructure projects on Long Island. These projects include rehabilitating wastewater treatment plants, upgrading Long Island’s utility system, creating microgrids to meet energy needs, and strengthening vulnerable bridges for future severe weather.


Legislation expands locations for wine sales

Governor Cuomo signed legislation this week that will help the state’s efforts to market and promote New York wine and tourism.  The legislation allows wine to be sold at roadside farm markets and designates portions of the state highways near wineries and vineyards as “Wine Trails.”

“These new laws will build on our continuing efforts to promote New York’s wine industry across the state and beyond, boosting tourism, local economies and job growth,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are increasing market opportunities for local producers and farmers and expanding our wine trails to attract tourists to communities across Upstate New York. Our state is home to hundreds of wineries that produce some of the best wine in the world, and we want both New Yorkers and visitors to come and enjoy them.”

New York is home to nearly 500 wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries. Producers account for more than $22 billion in annual total economic impact in the state and support tens of thousands of jobs statewide. The state ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production, has the second-most distilleries, and three of the top-producing 20 brewers in the United States are located in New York.

Farm Aid concertgoers “Taste NY”

Farm Aid concertgoers got to “Taste NY” this past weekend at the venue in Saratoga Springs.

Products included:

  • Empire Brewing      Company (Syracuse)
  • Brown’s      Brewing Co. (Troy)
  • Saranac      Brewery (Utica)
  • Lake Placid      Brewery (Lake Placid)
  • Captain      Lawrence Brewing Company (Elmsford)
  • Brooklyn      Brewery (Brooklyn)
  • Davidson      Brothers Brewing Company (Glens Falls)
  • Adirondack      Brewery (Lake George)
  • McKenzie’s      Hard Cider (Buffalo)
  • Swedish Hill      Winery (Romulus)
  • Hazlitt 1852      Vineyards (Hector
  • Bedell Cellars      (Cutchogue)


“There may be no better venue to showcase New York’s wine, beer and cider than at the Farm Aid 2013 concert as we celebrate the history and role of agriculture in our state and country,” Governor Cuomo said. “Not only will there be great music at the event, but also some of the best food and drink to enjoy here in New York – so I encourage concertgoers to stop by the ‘Taste NY’ tent to sample these local products and support our producers and farmers.”

“Taste NY” was launched by Governor Cuomo to highlight New York’s food and beverage industry. Its goal is to make the wide variety of foods made and grown in the state readily available and recognizable to New York residents, tourists and the world. “Taste NY” is also a major component of the Governor’s $60 million tourism campaign – the largest such campaign in decades.

For more information about “Taste NY,” visit For more information about Farm Aid 2013, visit


New York funds Niagara Falls tourism project

New York will provide of $2.75 million in funding for a tourism and economic development project in the western part of the state.  The Hamister Group, Inc. will undertake a $25.3 million project that will consist of 110 upscale hotel rooms, 24 market-rate residential rental apartments, and up to 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail. The project is estimated to generate between 200 and 300 jobs during construction and create 70 permanent jobs.

The City Council recently voted in favor of the project, which is located at a city-owned site at 310 Rainbow Boulevard in downtown Niagara Falls, New York.

Governor Cuomo said. “This project will support new jobs and tax revenue, spurring economic activity for the whole region… this significant investment will enhance the visitor experience in Niagara Falls…encourage longer stays, cultivate repeat visitors and improve the city’s image in the global tourism market.”

The Hamister Group, Inc., founded in 1977 and based in Buffalo, is a recognized leader in hotel and healthcare facility development and management.