Identify and create tourism opportunities to enhance economic growth and development in Rockland County.
For members & guests only.
Upcoming Meeting Dates:
Friday, January 12, 2018 8:45 - 10:30 am Hilton Garden Inn, 270 Route 59 West, Nanuet, NY
Friday, February 9, 2018 8:45 - 10:30 am Rockland Historical Society, 20 Zukor Rd., New City, NY
Friday, March 9, 2018 location to be announced
Friday, April 13, 2018 location to be announced
Friday, May 11, 2018 location to be announced
Friday, June 8, 2018 location to be announced
What's Happening Newsletter - Volume 1 Issue 3
Tourism in Rockland County is a growing industry. It is a key driver in supporting the economy and supplying much needed tax revenue. Rockland County Tourism Director, Lucy Redzeposki, keeps chipping away in finding new initiatives to grow the industry. While many are working to develop business opportunities, real strides will be made with a larger infusion of capital to improve the marketing effort.
The September meeting of the Hospitality and Tourism Alliance (HTA) attracted a full house with a packed agenda.
The latest Hudson Valley Tourism Spending Report showed a 3% increase in tourism spending to top $3.5 billion. The impact on Rockland’s economy showed very strong results. Traveler’s spent over $466 million, accounting for over $30 million in sales tax while employing 8,673 workers providing a labor income of over $255 million. The industry is growing and is a major part of the Rockland economy.
Lucy Redzeposki, Director of Economic Development and Tourism, gave an update of her activities. On a very tight budget, she was able to run a multi-day tour operator familiarization tour of the county. It was very well received and included a great showing of many of the county’s attractions. Lucy has been chipping away at the County Legislature for additional funding for many of her offices initiatives. She also announced that she will be going to Ireland and Scotland via Norwegian Airlines through Stewart International Airport. Her goal is to get the NYC tourists to use Rockland as an alternative, affordable location to stay. The travelers coming via Stewart are very budget conscious and Rockland hotel rates will be of great interest to them.
Marrysol Figueroa, the Rockland County Film Coordinator, reported that there still is a strong interest in Rockland for film production. The county’s office complex in Pomona (former sight of the County Hospital) is being utilitized, due to the fact that it has a lot of vacant space that easily converts to many uses. Marrysol mentioned that the increased tax incentives that the counties north of us have, has attracted business away from us. She is doing her best to sell Rockland’s closeness to Manhattan as an advantage to film here.
The guest presenter was Heather Loebner, Executive Director of the Palisades Parks Conservancy (the private sector arm of Palisades Parks). Heather gave a broad overview of the Parks activities and resources and the challenges they face in maintaining it. A discussion followed on how the park and business community can work together in creating greater economic benefits for all. Heather was happy to have the opportunity to meet the Rockland hospitality industry and looks forward to working with the HTA.
Additional presenters were: the newly created “Experience Nyack”, a business that offers both local Nyack tours, as well as, hikes in the park. They expect increased interest in their tours when the Shared Use Path to the new bridge opens. Myles Romanow of Rockland Supercross reported on the upcoming November 18 & 19th race. He expects to have over 1,000 contestants this year with only a few, if any, from Rockland. Joe D’Uso of the Rockland Bergen Music Festival and Robin Rosenberg reported on their future activities and initiatives of interest to the Hospitality/Tourism industry, as well.
The Hospitality and Tourism Alliance (HTA) agendas for the first quarter concentrated on various themes and locations in the County. The tourism industry has become an important economic engine for Rockland County. As the importance has increased, so has the level of participation. The HTA is a significant forum where professionals in the industry get together to learn of the latest programs, activities, trends and ideas.
The April meeting took place at 5 Wits in the Palisades Center Mall (PCM). Asia Sibert, 5 Wits Manager, informed the group that their business has been very successful at this location. While retail in general has been challenged, the PCM remains a very popular destination. Family entertainment venues have been a big draw. Mall Marketing Director, Rachel Chester, informed the group that there has been a lot of interest in the JC Penny location, after they announced closing at the PCM location. PCM is Rockland’s largest tourism destination and the interest in shopping and entertainment remains strong. Other presentations included; updates on the Rockland Bergen Music Festival, the Rockland Boulders baseball team and Tallman Beach and Pool Club. The meeting was followed by a tour of 5 Wits, where the group saw first-hand the mechanics and computer systems that control the various games.
The May meeting was held at the Edward Hopper House Art Center, in Nyack. The “Everything Nyack” theme included the former Deputy Mayor Foster who gave an outline of several tourism initiatives the Village is involved in. Of special interest, is the development of new waterfront activities, including kayaking and sail boat charter, with on-going discussion to make the marina more accessible for larger boats. Jennifer Patton, Executive Director of Hopper House, gave an overview of their activities and talked about its importance as a worldwide destination. The Hopper House has plans to grow, to the next level, as an art museum and archive. Meg Mayo, of Visit Nyack, made a presentation on the very robust schedule of marketing efforts currently in place. As a special treat, locally-made, award winning, Lisa’s Cheesecake was available for all to taste.
The June meeting was held at the Pearl River Hilton, before a packed room. David Kimmel, Director of RCC’s soon-to-be-built Nyack Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program spoke. He gave a great overview of the plans for the build-out for the new building, located in the center of Nyack, on the first floor of the former Presidential Life building (corner of Main St. and Broadway). David talked about the very unique program that will be a true hands-on program and will most certainly be a significant tourism destination. Rockland Director of Economic Growth and Tourism, Lucy Redzeposki, updated the group on the County’s tourism efforts. The meeting concluded with a discussion about the film tax credit issue, which has put Rockland at a financial disadvantage compared to counties north of us.
Upcoming meetings: September 8, October 13, November 10 and December 8, 2017.
Supervisor, Town of Ramapo, Christopher St. Lawrence, spoke about the tourism opportunities in the Town of Ramapo and how the RBA Hospitality/Tourism Alliance and the Town can work together promoting tourism.
William Boydston, Director Career & Technical, Rockland BOCES, talks about the ESL (English Second Language) Program for hotels. Next to him is Charles Hunter, Manager, Applebee's who hosted the meeting.