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Democrat Photo by John Emerson

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: State Senator John Bonacic (at podium) is joined by (from the left) county legislators Chris Cunningham, Rusty Pomeroy and Rodney Gaebel in unveiling a joint four-county tourism program at the government center in Monticello Wednesday.

Counties Joining Forces
To Promote Tourism

By John Emerson
MONTICELLO — July 28, 2000 – Catskill tourism got a big boost Wednesday when state Senator John Bonacic announced a tourism promotion package worth more than $1.6 million over the next three years for four counties within his 40th Senate District.
“We want to show off the region and market it in a way that they have not been able to do,” Bonacic said during a news conference announcing the program. “This is an investment of serious money for tourism. Together, these counties have much more strength than they would have by themselves.”
The four counties included in the regional marketing approach – Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster – each agreed to invest $60,000 in the consortium over the next three years. Bonacic is putting in $500,000 from monies obtained through his Catskill Reinvestment Act, and the Catskill Watershed Corporation is putting in another $500,000 over the next three years. The existing regional marketing association, CATS, will continue to spend about $125,000 annually, bringing the total to more than $1.6 million.
“Too often in the past, we’ve looked at our neighbors as the competition for our tourism dollars,” said legislature chairman Rusty Pomeroy. “Our competition is not our neighbors but other locations throughout the country.”
Tourism is one of the most lucrative forms of economic development, returning a little more than $3 for every $1 invested, according to Bonacic and statistics compiled by the state. The idea behind the joint marketing program is to reach out to new tourism markets, especially overseas markets such as Europe and Asia, and feature the region as a whole as a tourist destination.
The four counties and the CWC will hire an advertising consultant to develop an advertising package to bolster tourism.
Sullivan County Visitors Association President Roberta Lockwood said each of the counties involved has unique aspects and attributes that make the overall location very attractive.
As an example, Lockwood mentioned that Sullivan County’s extensive number of golf courses would very likely appeal to the Asian market, and Greene County’s ski areas, such as Hunter Mountain, would probably be marketed in Europe.
“The most important thing about this is the unanimous vote of support that came from the CWC, three county legislatures and a board of supervisors,” said Bonacic. “I didn’t do this by myself. The leaders of the local governments and CWC are making a major investment in tourism.”

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