News & Insights

SCVA brings global awareness & visitors to Sullivan Catskills

The Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association (SCVA), the official tourism promotion agency for Sullivan County, is experiencing substantial results from the implementation of their strategic marketing plan.

The goal is to attract visitors from around the globe to the Sullivan Catskills, increase visitor spending, overnight stays and county bed tax collections. Why are new visitors coming to the Sullivan Catskills?

The concept of “build and they will come” in the global competitive tourism market doesn’t work anymore. Destinations are competing more than ever to attract tourism dollars. They now must be creative, focused and tactical when going after new audiences and returning visitors.

The SCVA is doing just this. They have developed a strategy with a team of marketing and advertising experts to create a progressive plan that has produced results.

“Our plan is a roadmap to success. It is well thought out and targeted. However, we realize that we must be flexible and adaptable as trends change. We have great success so far and expect this to continue. Or numbers demonstrate this!” commented Roberta Byron-Lockwood, President of the SCVA.

The numbers do show that their strategy is working. Since 2015, the Sullivan Catskills has experienced up to a 16 percent increase in visitor expenditures. Tourism spending was over $449 million for 2017 and is expected to continue this upward trajectory in the years to come due to new development of Resorts World Catskills, Yo1 Luxury Nature Cure, Kartrite Hotel & Indoor Water Park, Eldred Preserve and other projects set for 2019-2021 openings.

In addition, media and tour operators from around the globe are taking great interest in the 50th anniversary of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival and other tourism opportunities in the Sullivan Catskills, such as farm to table cuisine, health & wellness, gaming, outdoor adventure and much more.

Visitors, tour operators and media are finding out about the Sullivan Catskills and its distinctive tourism opportunities – and not just by chance.

They are discovering the Catskills because of the SCVA’s focused efforts of marketing and promotion. Just in 2018, the SCVA is targeted to receive up to 4 million visitors. By 2019-2020, it is projected that the Sullivan Catskills will receive up to 7 million or more visitors.

Some of SCVA’s ROI accomplishments in 2018 include:

  • Attendance at Meeting & Convention, Travel Trade and Consumer shows: Reach was to over 25k tour operators, media and potential visitors.
  • Hosting a variety of international and domestic travel writers and bloggers: Articles on the Sullivan Catskills were published in The Irish Times; Scottish Times; Daily News, UK; Wall Street Journal; Architectural Digest; New York Post to name a few. Reach was to over 12 million people and media value worth $6 million.
  • Increasing Social Media awareness: The SCVA is becoming an influencer on social media platforms. In the first 5 months of 2018, compared to 2017 stats, SCVA’s social media grew 64 percent in daily engaged Facebook users, a 978 percent increase in retweets (Twitter), an 864 percent increase in Instagram reach, and a 25 percent increase in followers.
  • Promotional exhibits of the Sullivan Catskills at New York Stewart International Airport: Over 500,000 people arrive to this airport annually.
  • Partnering with I Love New York International offices in China, Australia, UK and Germany on various marketing and promotion initiatives that encourage visitors from these markets to visit the Sullivan Catskills.

People are rediscovering the Catskills! The marketing and advertising strategy is working. The success is also due to SCVA’s partners and members. The SCVA is a membership driven organization. “We are successful because of our members. Without them and their support, we wouldn’t have the quality experiences visitors are looking for,” stated Roberta Byron Lockwood. “We have many more exciting things in store for the Sullivan Catskills.”

“We have hired more staff to handle the influx of visitor interest. We expect to be New York State’s and the Northeast’s premier destination for gaming, luxury, family and outdoor adventure travel,” Byron-Lockwood said. “We are confident we will accomplish this because of our commitment to the Sullivan Catskills as well as all of the support we have from our Board, politicians and membership.”

Interested in becoming a member of the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association to attract new and returning visitors to your place of business? Contact Holly Gassler at [email protected] or 845-747-4447.