Orleans County celebrates Travel and Tourism Week, eager to welcome more visitors in 2021

Posted 3 May 2021 at 7:27 am

Press Release, Orleans County Tourism Department

Photo by Tom Rivers: A flock of geese are in flight in Lyndonville during a sunset over Johnson Creek. The wildlife and rural landscapes are a big part of the appeal in Orleans County.

ALBION – National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the annual celebration of the contributions of the U.S. travel industry, will spotlight the critical role that travel will play in driving economic recovery efforts and building the path forward through the theme Power of Travel.

Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to elevate the economic power of travel in the U.S. The 38th annual NTTW (May 2-8) arrives at an opportune moment to recognize the importance to the U.S. economy of initiating a post-pandemic travel recovery.

“NTTW takes on a special significance this year as the travel industry looks to rebound quickly from the pandemic and accelerate recovery efforts,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The past year was incredibly challenging, but we saw the full power of the travel industry on display in the way we united and supported one another through this crisis.”

“Before the pandemic, travel generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S.—evidence of the outsized role the industry will play in America’s broader economic recovery,” Dow said.

Orleans County Tourism is saluting the power of travel by participating in a number of regional and statewide campaigns. The “AGLOW” region is launching their new website “Fresh Air Adventures – New York’s Falls to the Finger Lakes” at www.freshairadventuresny.com this month featuring tourism assets throughout Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties as well as an online trip planner.

This logo used to promote tourism in Orleans County includes the courthouse dome and a boat on the Erie Canal.

Through our association with the New York State Tourism Industry (NYSTIA), Orleans County is participating in a statewide collaboration, “Roam the Empire.” NY’s destination marketing organizations, museums, attractions, and other tourism related businesses are rallying New Yorkers to “ROAM THE EMPIRE” and choose their home state when making their 2021 travel and vacation plans. Organizers of the “ROAM THE EMPIRE” initiative point to the obvious benefits that will result if New Yorkers choose to explore the Empire State and vacation in-state in 2021.

Tourism is the third largest industry in New York State. During the pandemic year of 2020, tourism was inarguably New York’s most impacted industry. By year-end 2020, the tourism industry was devastated:

  • Average annual employment declined 34%, a loss of over 330,000 jobs vs 2019 – nearly three times the employment impact in any other major category!
  • An estimated 56% loss in travel spending and a corresponding 45% drop in tax revenues, the third most severely impacted state in the country!

Orleans County actually fared better than the metropolitan regions due to our wide open spaces, including world class fishing, the Erie Canal, the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and our camping facilities. Campgrounds were filled to capacity throughout the summer.

The total bed tax collected during 2020 had remained on par from 2019 collections, partially due to the popularity of airbnb vacation rentals during the pandemic. Despite losing valuable state funding used to promote tourism in our area, we’ve had to adjust our sails to continue the momentum created when our department was expanded in 2018. The staff at the Tourism Promotional Agency of Orleans County had to think outside the box to market Orleans County on a limited budget in 2020 and looks forward to 2021 when new funding resources become available.

“Despite the hardships of the last year, Orleans County is ready and eager to welcome back visitors and help drive New York State’s recovery efforts, especially for our local restaurants, specialty shops and attractions,” said Dawn Borchert, Orleans County Tourism director. “National Travel and Tourism Week, the ‘Roam the Empire’ and ‘Fresh Air Adventures NY’ campaigns will remind visitors and residents of the incredible contributions of the travel industry not just to our local economy and workforce, but to our community’s identity and culture.”

Please visit ustravel.org/NTTW to learn more about National Travel and Tourism Week; www.iloveny.com to view the opportunities to Roam the Empire; www.freshairadventuresny.com to view local attractions and of course, www.orleanscountytourism.com to share our wonderful tourism assets as we welcome our visitors.