News & Insights

Planning For The Expected Influx of Tourism to The County

As Sullivan County is experiencing a resurgence of tourism development, the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association (SCVA) is at the forefront of strategically preparing its members for the expected influx of visitors to the area and the region.

As the official legislative tourism promotion agency (TPA) for the county, SCVA works with other state TPAs, New York State Division of Tourism, stakeholders and partners to steer domestic and international travelers to upstate New York.

As the gateway from New York City (top visited city in the U.S.) to the Catskills, Sullivan County is positioned to welcome visitors from around the globe.

Only 90 minutes from New York City, it is easily accessible for those who want to venture out of the city and experience authentic beauty; world-class cuisine; unique inns; and, award winning wineries, breweries, and distilleries as well as its distinctive attractions such as Bethel Woods, the Delaware River, Resorts World Casino and Yo1 Wellness Center.

Since 2009, the Sullivan Catskills has seen an upsurge of 20 percent in visitor spending. Tourism will continue to grow to a new level as the increased interest in Resorts World Catskills, Yo1 Wellness Center, the Kartrite and as additional development progresses in the next three years.

Due to this increase, Roberta Byron-Lockwood, President/ CEO of the SCVA and her team are preparing their members for the influx of visitors by providing visitor readiness trainings that include Hospitality, Social Media, and Market Ready Seminars.

To do this, SCVA is developing educational programing that will give their members a competitive edge.

“Our goal is to make every visitor who comes to the Sullivan Catskills have an exceptional experience,” said Byron-Lockwood. “Great customer service is the key to visitors returning to a destination year-after year.

“This is why the curriculum in all of our programs is geared towards us preparing members’ front line staff to upper level management. We want them to be tourism ready!” Byron-Lockwood continued. “We want them to be prepared.”

New programs consist of Hospitality, Social Media and China Ready Workshops. All classes were offered in spring 2018 with up to 50 members attending each seminar, with more classes planned for 2018-2019.

The educational program can be customized to suit the needs and interests of members. For more information on future trainings, contact the SCVA at 845- 747-4449.

Hospitality Training: The workshop is based on time-tested best practices and sound methodologies that facilitate exceptional customer service and leadership. SCVA is conducting this program in partnership with the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce.

Social Media Training: This program focuses on social media 101 or for those who need to brush up on their skills, this 2-hour workshop informs how to optimize profile pages, use hashtags, create and schedule content, utilize Facebook events, tell your story, and more.

China Readiness: The seminar aimed to educate tourism stakeholders on the value of promoting the Catskill Region to the International and Domestic Chinese market.

In addition to the Chinese being the fastest growing visitors to the U.S. they also spend more than another type of traveler.

For this reason, the workshop focused on how to work with Chinese operators, prepare for Chinese arrivals; and, attract the Chinese to their businesses.

Presenters were experts on the domestic and international Chinese travel & trade market. The speakers were: Markly Wilson, Director of International Marketing, I Love New York, Top Dong, Director of Travel Trade, I Love NY China, Fanny Lawren, I Love NY Chinese Consultant and well established tour operators from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

For more information on the SCVA’s tourism marketing programs contact Lori Solomon at [email protected]. For more information on membership contact Holly Gassler at [email protected] or call 845-747-4449.