Peter Feinman: The Intersection Of History And Tourism

I-LOVE-NY-FACEBOOK-600x270Tourism is in the news and from a variety of angles. The New York State history community is encouraged to be connected to what’s going on in order to maximize the attendance.

There are a plethora of audiences which can be reached out to that may be overlooked at present.

1. Canadian Tourism

New York State Senator Chuck Schumer advocates an insertion into the proposed Immigration bill which will allow Canadian Snowbirds greater opportunity to visit New York. Under the current guidelines, they can stay in the United States only for six months per year and then are barred from visiting again until the next year. According to the news report, “That translates into lost tourist revenue for places such as New York’s Finger Lakes region in the East and Seattle on the West Coast.”

An estimated  6.9 million Canadians visited New York last year and spent $1.7 billion, according to the Canadian embassy.  There is little opposition to this economic booster because Canadian retirees would spend more money in New York and elsewhere in the United States. “They help spur our economy,’’ Schumer said. “Particularly for places like Buffalo and Rochester, far and away their biggest spending from tourists, other than Americans, is from Canadians.” Upstate historic sites especially in the Finger Lakes, Rochester, and Buffalo are advised to increase their staffs to accommodate the increased tourism by the people who have a different take on the War of 1812 than we do. After all, on what else would they spend their money in New York?

2. Cuomo and Casino Tourism

Gambling, perhaps. Governor Cuomo is actively pushing ahead on creating casinos in upstate New York in addition to the five full-scale ones already operated there by various Indian tribes. According to the news report, Cuomo “promotes as a bold move to bring jobs and tourism to economically depressed regions.” Cuomo has said that he imagines “resort gaming destinations” complete with hotels, shops, entertainment venues and four-star restaurants being created upstate with the Catskills being part of upstate New York.  As it turns out, many of the prospective casino operators would prefer a downstate location like in or around New York City since that is where the people are.

3. Walgreen Tourism

Is there a Walgreen in your community? If so, then you may an historic tourist site you have overlooked. Walgreen announced that it intends to build “net zero energy stores.” Walgreen even created a Facebook page to track the construction of its first such store. Menno Enters, Walgreen director of energy and sustainability said, “This could become a tourist attraction.” So get ready to add these sites to your list of historic tourist destinations in your community. People are on the move and Walgreens is a place they want to visit.

4. Leisure Tourism Is Back

In an article entitled “The Leisure Pack Is Back,” the U.S. Travel Association is reported as saying leisure travel will hit a record high this year. The article is about the travails of the business traveler who already is adjusting to more crowded air flights, hotels, and congestion. Apparently there are differences between travelers for business and for leisure which need to be tracked and differentiated when discussing the amount of tourism in an area or over a time period&#8230-at least at the national level.

5. Travel and Tourism Conference to be Held

The Travel and Tourism area of MAPACA (Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Assn.) seeks papers that explore and discuss any aspect of travel and tourism. Topics for this area include, but are not limited to, the following:
– heritage tourism
– travel and gender/race/class
– personal travel narratives
– politics and tourism
– and, of course, Atlantic City!

To submit a proposal, fill out a form available online. The deadline for submissions has been extended to June 30, 2013. Undergraduates and independent scholars are welcome- panels of 3 presenters, single papers, roundtables, or alternative formats are encouraged. Conference will be held Nov. 7-9, 2013, in Atlantic City, NJ, USA.  Presenters may only present 1 paper- please do not submit multiple papers to multiple areas of MAPACA.

Here is an opportunity for New York to showcase its politics, heritage, and tourism and how Canadians, casinos, Walgreens, and a rebounding economy have and will contribute to increased visits to the historic sites of the state. After all, any state that can create over 400 special events at no cost certainly should be instructing other states in how to achieve this boost in visits to historic sites.


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