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Tourism Budget Criticism Is Incredibly Short-Sighted

At the recent legislative budget hearing, there was a pretty strong discussion about the 2016 tourism budget and the wisdom of the County’s considerable investment.  The Putnam Tourism Bureau has asked for the same funding in 2016 as they received this year – $142,000.  That seems to be a reasonable request and is an important level of funding necessary to fulfill the vision of Tourism leaders as well as facilitate cooperation with other entities such as the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce which is a willing and active partner.

Tourism is a vital part of the strategic economic plan for improving the economy of Putnam County, and has been recognized as a so-called Cluster Industry by last year’s survey task force.  New York State has “doubled-down” with its promotion of the Hudson Valley Region as a tourist attraction.  Much of the funding that Putnam County provides to the Tourism Bureau is leveraged several times over by matching funding from New York State, Metro North Railroad and many other sources.  The Tourism Bureau is active in promoting and facilitating filming locations in our County.  These provide revenue for private and municipal properties where the filming takes place as well as a variety of job opportunities for the “extras” and the multitude of services required – catering, equipment rentals, contracting trades and more.

Tourist activity is an important income source for our villages, hamlets and diverse commercial districts.  Our restaurants thrive on these visitors.  Our economic development team also relies on Tourism as an important component.   Together with the County EDC and IDA, Chambers of Commerce and other agencies such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, they help make Putnam County the interesting place to visit and perhaps stay and build a business and a place to live.

A great example of a tourism-related activity is this weekend’s Pumpkin Palooza – check it out at http://www.tourputnam.org/event/pumpkin-palooza/?instance_id=15801

– Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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