Tourism growth in Sullivan Catskills benefits businesses and residents

August 7th, 2015

The Sullivan County Visitors Association Board of Directors is pleased to announce that spending by visitors to the Sullivan County Catskills grew another 2.5 percent, up from $363.1 million in 2013 to $372.1 million last year. The 2014 numbers were released in a report by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company providing analyses of the tourism sector around the world.

Tourism spending was up across all measured sectors: second homes, lodging, food and beverage, transportation, retail and service stations, and recreation. Second homes and lodging made up the majority of total moneys spent. In Sullivan County alone, spending on second homes totaled $125.8 million, while spending on lodging totaled $143.4 million, up $4 million from 2013. Second Home expenditures are based on stock of seasonal inventory. The annual average expenditures for housing are pro-rated to the season length to account for various levels not accounted in visitor surveys.

“Our goal as a Board is to create top-of-mind awareness among travelers by using a variety of strategies that include everything from social media enhancements to print and digital marketing,” said Elaine Fettig, Co-Chair of the SCVA Board. “Those efforts are making a difference; we’re very happy that these numbers show such measured growth.”

“The numbers stand to grow exponentially with the development of the Montreign Casino Resort at Adelaar, Z-Living/Veria Nature Cure & Wellness, and numerous other opportunities on the horizon,” Fettig added.

Tourism in Sullivan County generated the second highest percentage of state and local taxes in 2014 in the Catskill region, at $44.9 million – 32 percent of the total region share. Were it not for tourism-generated state and local taxes, the average household in Sullivan County would have to pay an additional $1,520 to maintain the same level of government revenue.

“Tourism continues to do great things for our county and our neighbors,” said Scott Samuelson, Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature. “It not only puts people to work and brings in visitors; it lessens the tax burdens on those of us who call this wonderful travel destination home.”

“This $9 million increase in overall travel expenditures demonstrates the fact that Sullivan County is ready for the new developments coming to the County, and this growth will spread across the entire Catskills and Mid-Hudson Region,” Samuelson added.

The tourism sector supported 18.3 percent of all Sullivan County employment, both directly and indirectly, in 2014. More than 4,500 local jobs were sustained by traveler activity across every sector of the economy, either directly at tourism businesses or indirectly through ancillary supplier businesses.

#SullivanSummer Photo Contest Champion Crowned

August 4th, 2015

The Sullivan County Visitors Association is proud to crown Hali Tara Friehling the SCVA’s first Sullivan Summer Snapshot Champion.

Hali and her family submitted a collection of diverse images that typify summertime in the Catskills, from boating and wakeboarding, to quiet moments along the shores of White Lake. Hali not only submitted great shots to the #SullivanSummer contest, but her Instagram (@figtree13) is also packed with galleries depicting the best our region has to offer, with images from all over Sullivan County.

Hali is the photography director of the new biannual magazine Delaware Valley Eight (DV8). The publication explores modern rural life and making the most of our bountiful local resources, from farms and food markets to our restaurants, retail businesses, and services. DV8 covers “the upstate scene” in Callicoon, Narrowsburg, Barryville, Livingston Manor, Bethel, Roscoe, Honesdale, Pa., and Milford, Pa. Visit them online at www.dv8mag.com.

Thank you to Hali and her family for sharing their summertime adventures with us. We look forward to more seasonal snapshots from all of our social media friends as the summer continues and we head toward another crisp and colorful autumn in the Catskills.

2nd Annual Mid-Summer Sullivan United Networking Mixer

July 1st, 2015

Bridgeville, N.Y. – June 30, 2015 – The Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development is once again joining forces with the Sullivan County Visitors Association, the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, and the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency to host its annual Mid-Summer Sullivan United Networking Mixer designed to unite Sullivan County’s business community, and celebrate the region’s bright future.

The Mid-Summer Sullivan United Networking Mixer will be held on Wednesday, July 15, under a tent overlooking the Monster Golf Course, located in the heart of the future Adelaar development site from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“This time last year we were awaiting word from New York State about where a casino project may go in our region; five months later, it was officially announced that Empire Resorts had won its bid to proceed and EPR Properties has hit the ground running beginning construction on its Adelaar resort destination project,” said Sullivan County Partnership President/CEO Marc Baez. “The project is an extraordinary development that is already driving new interest for future development in Sullivan County. We have more to celebrate this year than ever before.”

Admission is $35 for members of participating organizations, and $45 for non-members. Admission includes a variety of gourmet hors d’oeuvres and light fare, catered by Mr. Willy’s in Monticello.

There are several sponsorship opportunities available. To RSVP or to become a sponsor for the Mid-Summer Sullivan United Networking Mixer, contact the Sullivan County Partnership at 845.794.1110 or via email to info@scpartnership.com.

Take Eagle Express Shuttle Service From NYC To Sullivan County for the 4th of July

June 30th, 2015

Ferndale, N.Y. – June 30, 2015 – There’s no better place to celebrate the 4th of July than in the Sullivan County Catskills. Enjoy the all-new Eagle Express shuttle service from New York City to the Upper Delaware River and Sullivan County, and enjoy festivals, fireworks, and parades across the region.

The Eagle Express shuttle will board at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 3rd at the Local Café, near Penn Station, at 33rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. The route travels along the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, with drop-off points in the hamlets of Pond Eddy, Barryville, Narrowsburg, and Callicoon.

While in Sullivan County this holiday weekend, consider one of these family-friendly, FREE events on Independence Day:

  • 21st Annual Liberty Festival, Liberty, N.Y.; 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Annual Independence Day Parade, Roscoe, N.Y.; 11 a.m.
  • Fireworks Display, Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center, Callicoon, N.Y.; 9:15 p.m.

During your visit, snap pictures of the fun and share them in the #SullivanSummer Photo Contest! Whether you take a picture of a sunset, a landscape, an action shot, or a selfie, share your photo on facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #SullivanSummer. The pic with the most likes will be crowned the Sullivan Summer Snapshot Champion on July 29th. Get all of the contest details and submit photos online by visiting www.scva.net/Sullivan-Summer-Photo-Contest.

Head back to New York on Sunday, July 5th at 5 p.m. on the Eagle Express’s return shuttle, where pickups will be made in the hamlets of Pond Eddy, Barryville, Narrowsburg, and Callicoon.

For a complete schedule of dates, including itinerary, maps, and specific arrival and departure times, visit www.scva.net/eagleexpress. One-way trips are $40; round trip travel costs $80. Eagle Express is not able to accommodate pets or recreational equipment (bikes, kayaks, etc.) at this time. Space on the July 3rd shuttle is going fast, but seats are still available.

SCVA #SullivanSummer Photo Contest Is Under Way

June 11th, 2015

Ferndale, N.Y. – June 11, 2015 – The Sullivan County Visitors Association’s #SullivanSummer Photo Contest has officially kicked off and will continue through Sunday, July 26.

This promotion ties into the 2015 Travel Guide theme, “Find Yourselfie In The Catskills”, and encourages people to share their summer photos from around Sullivan County. Whether you take a picture of a sunset, a landscape, and action shot, or a selfie, you can share your photo on social media using the hashtag #SullivanSummer. Submissions are accepted on an ongoing basis, and people can vote for their favorites. An overall winner – the 2015 Sullivan Summer Snapshot Champion – will be announced on Wednesday, July 29 in the SCVA’s weekly eblast, and on Facebook on Thursday, July 30.

“We want images that capture the essence of summer in Sullivan,” said Roberta Byron-Lockwood, SCVA president. “It’s not just selfies we’re looking for, but all kinds of pictures that put the beauty, adventure, tradition, and the serenity of Sullivan County in summertime on full display.”

The SCVA is accepting submissions now through the SCVA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SullivanCountyCatskills), website (www.scva.net/Sullivan-Summer-Photo-Contest), Twitter (@CatskillConnect), and Instagram (@SullivanCatskills). Users simply post their photos with the hashtag #SullivanSummer, and include the details regarding where the image was taken. Photographers may submit up to one photo per day. All submissions will be posted to the SCVA’s Facebook page, where people can vote by “liking” their favorite photos.

Participants are encouraged to visit www.SCVA.net/Sullivan-Summer-Photo-Contest to connect with the Visitors Association on social media, and to get complete contest details and rules. An updated gallery of all submissions will be accessible via the contest homepage.

SCVA Announces #SullivanSelfie Photo Contest

May 11th, 2015

The Sullivan County Visitors Association’s multi-tiered #SullivanSelfie Photo Contest will officially kick off on Friday, May 15.

This new promotion encourages travelers to “Find Yourselfie In The Catskills” as they enjoy their own Sullivan County adventure, and will include eight weekly photo contests. The winner each week will be determined by the number of votes an image has earned via Facebook. Every weekly winner will then be entered into a Best of the Best round. Voting for the Finals will begin July 13; an overall winner – Sullivan County’s 2015 Selfie Champion – will be announced on Wednesday, July 29 in the SCVA’s weekly eblast, and on Facebook on Thursday, July 30.

“The more creative these selfies are, the better,” said Roberta Byron-Lockwood, SCVA president. “We want to see the joy, the silliness, and the serenity that Sullivan County can bring to people’s lives. It’s the people here – both residents and our visitors – who bring this amazing place to life.”

The SCVA will begin accepting submissions on May 15 through the SCVA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SullivanCountyCatskills), website (www.scva.net/Sullivan-Selfie-Photo-Contest), Twitter (@CatskillConnect), and Instagram (@SullivanCatskills). Users simply post their photo with the hashtag #SullivanSelfie, and include the details regarding where the image was taken. Photographers may submit up to one photo per day; each image is only applicable to the week in which it is submitted.

All submissions will be posted to the SCVA’s Facebook page, where people can vote by “liking” their favorite photos.

Participants are encouraged to visit www.SCVA.net/Sullivan-Selfie-Photo-Contest to connect with the Visitors Association on social media, and to get complete contest details and rules. An updated gallery of weekly winners, as well as all submissions, will be accessible via the contest homepage.

SCVA Announces Annual Literature Exchange & Disney Institute Workshop

April 22nd, 2015

The Sullivan County Visitors Association will host its annual Tailgate Literature Exchange and Barbecue on Thursday, May 7, on the campus of SUNY Sullivan. The event will be preceded on Wednesday, May 6, with a workshop by the Disney Institute geared toward quality service across all business and industry platforms. Registration for both events is open now and space is limited.

On Thursday, May 7, the SCVA will be holding its Annual Literature Exchange and Barbecue at SUNY Sullivan. Prior to the literature exchange, the SCVA will hold a free Hospitality Training Seminar at the college, open to anyone, at 3 p.m. The fun, interactive customer service training is designed to help organizations improve their customer service standards through effective communication, the development of transformational values and a common organizational purpose.

Bill Dustin, Events Administrator at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, N.Y., will share his experiences at the “Disney’s Approach to Quality Service” seminar, break down Disney’s “4-Keys” (their core standards/values) and explain how he uses them in everyday interactions at Mohawk Valley Community College. SCVA President Roberta Byron-Lockwood and SC Chamber President/CEO Cathy Paty, are both recent graduates of Disney’s training program.

The Annual Tailgate Literature Exchange & BBQ will commence at 5 p.m. Businesses will bring their current promotional material to share with one another, and enjoy a barbeque in SUNY Sullivan’s parking lot. Proud to Be Sullivan and YEL! are teaming up with the SCVA for the event, and to celebrate National Tourism Week. SCVA members will be allowed two free admissions to the Thursday events. Each additional SCVA member will cost $10 and non-members will cost $15. For registration, please contact the Sullivan County Visitors Association at 845-747-4449, or by email to pla@scva.net. The deadline to register is May 1.

The day before, on May 6th, the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and SUNY Sullivan will welcome trainers from the Disney Institute of Orlando, FL. to the college’s campus to present a workshop entitled “Disney’s Approach to Quality Service.” Disney’s well known and transformational professional development program presents best practices, sound methodologies and real life lessons derived from the company’s business success. The event will begin at 8 a.m. at SUNY Sullivan and continues until 4 pm. Registration is extremely limited with a cost of $75 per person. To register for this event, visit www.disneyinstituteevite.com/LochSheldrakeNY05062015/LastChance.

“Who better to prepare the tourist pros of the Catskills, than the pros who wrote, and continuously rewrite, the book on customer experience – Disney,” said Byron-Lockwood. “Tourist season is already heating up and even bigger things for Sullivan County tourism are just around the corner.”

2015 Sullivan County Catskills Travel Guide Available Now

April 6th, 2015

The Sullivan County Visitors Association is pleased to announce the publication of its 2015 Sullivan County Catskills Travel Guide. With the spring return of this invaluable resource, readers are once again equipped with all the information they need to plan, book, and enjoy their trip Sullivan County Catskills adventure. This year, the guide also encourages visitors to connect with the SCVA on social media to share their experiences in real time, online.

The new edition of the travel guide features an updated, pull-out map and a comprehensive listing of county attractions, accommodations, and restaurants. It has a chart showing which body of water to fish by what type of fish you want to catch. It organizes amenities and activities for outdoorsmen, ecotourists, agritourists, hunters and fishermen, foodies, music lovers, and more. No matter you or your family’s interests, the 2015 travel guide showcases something for everyone.

This year’s guide also invites visitors to be part of the Find Your Selfie In The Catskills campaign. Whether

you’re catching music at Bethel Woods, or fish on the Delaware; whether you’re hiking or biking, zip-lining or dining, you can share any of your moments enjoying Sullivan County’s bounty, online. Connect with the SCVA on social media by using the tags @SullivanCountyCatskills on facebook, @SullivanCatskills on Instangram, and @CatskillConnect on Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #SullivanSelfies when you post your entries.

“The Find Your Selfie campaign was inspired by the success of our recent photo contest s, and will build on our audience interaction,” said Roberta Byron-Lockwood, SCVA president. “We’ll be able to see and share the many ways people love their time here; it’s going to help us open the conversation on Sullivan County to a whole new audience.”

To explore the complete 2015 travel guide online, or to receive a print copy mailed, visit www.scva.net.

Pick up a copy along your travels at info centers throughout the state, including Thruway travel centers, or from regional businesses and tourist destinations. Of course, you are invited to call the SCVA at 800-882-2287 to request a copy, or pay us a visit at 100 Sullivan Ave., Suite 2, in Ferndale, New York.

SCVA Announces Opening of Fishing Season In Sullivan County

March 25th, 2015

Towns all around Sullivan County are gearing up for the start of fishing season, which launches statewide on Wednesday, April 1st. Once more, the angling spotlight will be on our renowned rivers, lakes, and ponds. Businesses and organizations from Wurtsboro to Roscoe also consider this the start of the annual tourist season, which, like fishing season, stretches into October.

The mighty Delaware River challenges anglers with its East and West Branches, as well as the Main Stem. Calmer waters await at the Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs, Big Pond, Little Pond, Lake Waneta, Crystal Lake, Alder Lake, and Mongaup Lake. Just outside of Roscoe, the world-renowned Beaverkill River and Willowemoc Creek meet at the legendary Junction Pool.

Roscoe, known nationwide as Trout Town USA, is the capital of all things angling. The town will host its First Cast on Saturday, April 11th. This Trout Season Opening Ceremony will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Junction Pool, with the season’s “first cast” at 7:45 a.m. Roscoe welcomes guest celebrity first caster Charles Degliomini, Executive Vice President of Empire Resorts, Inc., to Roscoe for the occasion. A meet and greet opportunity will follow.

Done fishing? There is still plenty to do across the county. Food and drink take center stage in the county’s many restaurants, cafés, breweries, and distilleries. The New York wine trail runs through Sullivan County as well. Keep your focus outdoors with hiking, rafting, kayaking, and tubing, or head inside to browse one of the myriad shops offering everything from locally produced artisan goods to antiques.

SCVA Announces Eagle Express Shuttle Service From NYC To Upper Delaware

March 24th, 2015

The Sullivan County Visitors Association is pleased to announce the launch of the Eagle Express, a new shuttle service provided by Big V Enterprises, which will deliver passengers from New York City to the Upper Delaware River in the Sullivan County Catskills. The weekend round trips will begin on June 26th from Penn Station, and make four separate stops along the Delaware River.

The Eagle Express’s 21-passenger shuttle will receive passengers at New York City’s Penn Station on Friday afternoons for outbound trips, and return them to Penn Station on Sunday evenings. The first weekend of service will be June 26th and 28th, with additional service scheduled for July 3rd and 5th, July 10th and 12th, and July 17th and 19th.

Travelers will be able to relax throughout the duration of their ride, which connects with the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway for the majority of the route. The Friday evening leg includes stops in Lumberland, Barryville, and Narrowsburg in Sullivan County, with a final stop in Callicoon. On return trips, the shuttle departs Callicoon Sunday evening, and picks up riders in the same three towns before ultimately arriving back at Penn Station.

Although still in development, an online reservation system will be available at SCVA.net/eagleexpress for travelers’ convenience.

A one-way fare is $40, and riders are encouraged to book both legs of their travel at the same time to ensure seating on their return trip. Reservations must be made no later than the Tuesday prior to travel by 5 p.m. Luggage space is limited, and Eagle Express is unable to accommodate pets or recreational equipment (e.g., kayaks, bikes, etc.) at this time.

For a detailed Eagle Express schedule, including drop-off times along the route, visit the Sullivan County Visitors Association website, www.scva.net/eagleexpress. Direct questions regarding Eagle Express shuttle service to Big V Enterprises by phone at (845) 292-1639, or via email to eagleservice@bigventertainment.com.