SCHUMER CONVENES ORANGE COUNTY TOURISM SUMMIT TO ENSURE LOCAL BUSINESSES GET THE MOST OUT OF NEW SULLIVAN CASINO – SCHUMER BRINGS TOGETHER FED OFFICIALS, ORANGE COUNTY TOURISM, & ORANGE COUNTY CHAMBER TO DEVELOP COMPREHENSIVE TOURISM STRATEGY
Tourism in Hudson Valley, Orange County Set To Rise As A Result of New Casino in Sullivan – Important to Take Full Advantage of What Could Be Major Boon For Local Restaurants, Hotels, Shops & Other Tourist Attractions
Schumer Brings Together Fed Officials, Casino Developer, Orange County Tourism & Orange County Chamber, Economic Development Experts To Develop Tourism Strategy & Get Plan Off The Ground
Schumer: Orange County Needs A Comprehensive Approach To Take Advantage of Tremendous Tourism Potential
At the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today co-hosted the first ever Orange County Tourism Summit to ensure that local businesses are able to capitalize on the economic impact of the new casino coming to Sullivan County. Schumer said that with more visitors set to pass through Orange as a result of the new casino, it is important for the county and its businesses to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure they are benefiting from the eventual tourism uptick.
Schumer said that restaurants, hotels, farmers, local shops and other tourist attractions are most likely to benefit from the incoming casino, and that is why he is bringing together federal agency officials to meet with Orange County Tourism & Orange County Chamber of Commerce, and business leaders to begin to develop a comprehensive strategy. Schumer said that these federal and local agencies will offer expertise and funding that can help make the plan a success.
“Our goals today are the same as they’ve always been: foster economic growth, higher wages, and job creation from the town of Newburgh to New Windsor, Tuxedo to Middletown and everywhere in between. But these goals will not be achievable unless we think about this region and Orange County’s core advantages, and then customize our approach to suit those characteristics in preparation for this incoming Sullivan casino. With this new tourism destination on the horizon, we need to come together and chart a path forward to harness the opportunity of this world-class gaming destination to increase awareness, improve access and marketing, and enhance the tourism experience for visitors from all around the world passing through Orange and the Hudson Valley,” said Senator Schumer. “I am hopeful that with the minds we have gathered here we can develop several new ideas, avenues to pursue, and ways to make sure the expected new visitors to the area in the years to come become a permanent fixture in Orange County’s tourism economy.”
Schumer was joined by Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus; Orange County Tourism Director Susan Hawvermale; Orange County Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Cione; Jason Aul from BrandUSA, the premier federal tourism promotion agency; Terri Coaxum from the Small Business Administration; and Ronda Falk from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“On behalf of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, we are thrilled to be working with Senator Schumer and Orange County Tourism to facilitate a conversation on how to increase traffic to Orange County tourist sites, and we’ll continue working together with the Montreign Resort Casino to increase the economic impact of tourism on the area,” said Lynn Cione, President of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce.
Schumer outlined how each of these federal resources and agencies are poised to help in the effort to harness economic development opportunities for Orange County from the incoming Sullivan casino:
- Brand USA is a federal entity that works in close partnership with the travel industry and the US Department of Commerce to maximize the economic and social benefits of tourism. Schumer said New York has made several steps forward in attracting more tourists to the Niagara Falls area through Brand USA marketing strategies, and Orange County could potentially benefit from similar strategies as it prepares for the incoming Sullivan County casino. Schumer said BrandUSA could work with local entities and businesses to market Hudson Valley and Orange County attractions to potential visitors across the country and globe.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, business counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses around the country. The SBA’s Office of Advocacy in particular is an independent voice for small business within the federal government. Schumer said this advocacy advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, the federal agencies, the federal courts and state policy makers.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is another federal agency that provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development and nutrition. In addition, the USDA has specialized in tailoring some of its grant programs towards agri-tourism, an area in which Schumer said the Hudson Valley and Orange County could greatly benefit. Specifically, Schumer said with the help of the USDA, Orange County could increase its agri-tourism opportunities, create new revenue streams for farmers and showcase to the world the amazing farming and agricultural destinations Orange County and the Hudson Valley has to offer. From the Black Dirt Region to U-Pick orchards to all of our incredible wineries, Schumer said there is something for all tastes of visitors who come to Orange County.
Schumer also highlighted that his office has been in touch with a number of other federal programs and agencies that might also be available to help the Hudson Valley capitalize on the growth in tourism. Each of these programs has offered to be as helpful as possible to local leaders as they look to grow the regional economy:
- Community Development Entities: These organizations, which often operate as non-profits but help to facilitate federal programs are an excellent resource for helping new projects get off the ground. Specifically, entities like the National Development Council (NDC) which has played a prominent role in many New York State projects in the past. NDC and other CDEs like it play an important role in helping communities leverage a variety of federal programs – all of which Orange County could take advantage – including New Market Tax Credits (NMTC), tax-exempt affordable housing programs, and historic preservation programs. Newburgh, Schumer pointed to as an example, is ripe for NMTC investments and can also attract visitors from near and far to their waterfront businesses, historical destinations and Hudson River marinas.
- The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is another economic development focused agency that operates as part of the Department of Commerce. EDA is already engaged with a number of Hudson Valley leaders and Senator Schumer said he will push to grow that partnership in the future. EDA has a number of programs, including some targeted toward improving infrastructure to attract new business, and others that provide federal funding for long-term planning that could be critical to the Hudson Valley.
- The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) can also be a key player in helping Orange County ensure that they receive the maximum community benefit from the new Casino. USDOT provides a number of competitive grant programs including the TIGER grant, which has been used to pay for a wide variety of economic development related transportation projects across New York as well as other grants - like transit oriented development planning grants that can help communities plan new development around infrastructure hubs.
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