On Sunday, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was in the Adirondacks, where she released a new state report on the economic impact of tourism in New York State. According to the report, the state’s appending of $130 million to promote tourism in the state has helped increase the economic impact of the tourism industry in the state by 25 percent since 2010, and has helped increase tourism industry-related jobs to a record high in the state.
There is no doubt that tourism bring economic benefits to the state, and that many parts of our state have much to offer – from Niagara Falls, to the Finger Lakes wineries, to the many outdoor activities that the Adirondacks have to offer.
But a closer look at the state’s report reveals that while tourism may be growing in many parts of our state, other key industries are not. For example, while tourism-industry employment has been growing in much of the state, we have to ask why other industries – such as manufacturing and related jobs are not.
Why is tourism employment outpacing the state’s overall economy? We believe this is because the state has not taken the steps needed to enable New York-based companies to compete in the global economy, which includes lowering energy costs, workers’ compensation costs, and regulatory costs.
So while much of Upstate can benefit from more tourism – Buffalo, for one, is benefiting greatly from the growth of this industry – there is much that the state can do to make Upstate New York a better place not just to visit, but to live, work, and start and grow a business. Instead of patting themselves on the back for a “job well done,” we need our state’s leaders to follow through on their promise to improve the state’s generally abysmal business climate.