President's visit to Cooperstown is meant to help bolster tourism industry

May 21, 2014

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown Thursday to promote tourism. Obama said in his weekly address Saturday that tourism is an export, and that when foreign visitors come to the United States it grows the economy.

Lynn Herzig works with chambers of commerce and businesses throughout the region to promote tourism. He says the president's push to bring international visitors in is exactly what the region and state need.

"When you've got the national level saying tourism is important, then you've got the governor saying tourism is important; even because of some of the political issues that we all have in counties and out Assembly and our Senate," Herzig said. "Even if they're not sold on it, they almost have to be because they're forced into it by those others that are saying look, we've got the numbers to back it up."

Herzig says continuing to invest federal, state and private funding into promoting tourism benefits many other areas of business.

"Once they get here, they're going to eat, they're going to sleep, they're going to go to our attractions and they're going to enjoy whatever there is, no matter what time of the year they come," Herzig explained.

Herzig says the region has seen a boost in tourism dollars especially because of attractions like winery and brewery tours. More traditional tourism to parks, museums and zoos is also growing. He says cities in central New York should not be afraid to reach out to each other to promote events or tourist sites across the state.

According to the Department of Commerce, this year more than 72 million foreign visitors are expected to stay one or more nights in the United States. By 2018, that number is anticipated to rise to nearly 84 million visitors.