Borough President James Oddo is pleased to announce that his office’s tourism initiative, VISIT Staten Island, has received another Tourism Excellence Award for the “Most Significant COVID Response In Support Of The Consumer” from the New York State Tourism Industry Association in a virtual ceremony held this past Spring.
The 2021 New York State Tourism Excellence Awards acknowledge the work done in crisis conditions during the 2020 pandemic year. The Tourism Excellence Award was given to VISIT Staten Island for the creation of its “Stay on Staten Island” campaign, which encourages residents to explore their hometown virtually, while supporting local cultural organizations and businesses that were open and offering services throughout the pandemic. This social media campaign became a necessary resource and outlet for Staten Islanders who were looking for things to do during the stay-at-home mandate.
The award was presented to Jennifer Sammartino, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Colleen Siuzdak, Manager of Communications and External Affairs, during a virtual ceremony, recognizing VISIT Staten Island’s commitment to promoting the borough’s virtual programming, continuing the mission of the office during these unprecedented times.
There was a total of 27 honorees recognizing many counties across the state including those from Central New York, the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes. Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden received the same award for their outreach to the public through their “Snug Harbor At Home” series which included virtual tours and explorations and at-home educational activities all ranging from art and dance to science and history.
“Working collaboratively in New York State’s tourism community enables you to network with some of the best minds, most experienced individuals and trendsetting thought leaders in the global tourism industry,” said Bob Provost, President of the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA). “The individuals, campaigns, initiatives and projects being honored are world-class. I am humbled by their achievements and service to their communities in 2020.”
The New York State Tourism Excellence Awards are juried by an impartial panel of industry experts under the auspices of the New York State Tourism Industry Association. Nominations were up 250% vs 2019 and the judges were challenged by both the volume and the caliber of the entries.
“I am proud of the work Jennifer and Colleen have done to bring Staten Island to the forefront of the tourism industry as they continue to encourage residents to explore their own hometown,” said Borough President Oddo. “The borough has so much to offer – from history, to food, to experiences, to shopping. We have it all and the whole world is starting to get the message.”
The New York State Tourism Industry Association brings together those who support the state’s $115 billion tourism industry as a way to increase economic development in the 62 counties of New York State. In 2018, these state-wide efforts welcomed 253 million visitors with direct spending totaling $72 billion. Although all partners focus on the visitor experience, these members also strive to improve the quality of life and pride of place for all New Yorkers.
About VISIT Staten Island:
VISIT Staten Island was created in 2009 to highlight Staten Island as a fun, family-friendly, and historical destination to visit. The initiative is managed by Staten Island Borough President James Oddo's Office of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, an office created in 2017. The VISIT Staten Island initiative was rebranded in 2018 to incentivize those travelling from Manhattan to stay on Staten Island and spend the day at one of the many cultural attractions, shops, and restaurants. The campaign, “The Unexpected Borough,” also encourages residents to explore their own backyard and take advantage of the programs and events that are found so close to home.