SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (May 11, 2014) – County Executive Steve Bellone joined Legislator Jay Schneiderman and Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley during National Travel & Tourism Week to visit with owners and staff of local Southampton businesses and to encourage residents and visitors to support the local East End economy. The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism week, a tradition first establish by the United States Congress in 1984.
“Establishing a consistent dialogue with our local businesses is extremely important to the future economic success of Suffolk County,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “Today was about letting our East End businesses know, face to face, that they have a strong partner and advocate in their County government. Their success is our success.”
“It is always a worthwhile visit to sit down and talk to our local business owners and their staff,” said Legislator Jay Schneiderman. “As East End tourism starts to increase during the summer months, we wanted to take this opportunity to talk to our business owners and find out what assistance they need from their partners in local government.
According to Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning, tourism in Long Island is a $5.1 billion industry, supporting more than 74,000 jobs. In the entirety of New York State, only New York City generates more tourism dollars.
An analysis conducted in 2012 by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company, Suffolk-specific tourism generates $2.7 billion in revenues, ~ $1.3 billion in labor income, 38,447 jobs, $185.9 million in local tax revenue, and $149.2 million in state tax revenue.
County Executive Bellone added, “East End tourism is clearly an important economic indicator of the future success in Suffolk County. We watch these numbers closely.”
“Tourism drives economic activity in Long Island. People who come to visit our beaches and vineyards, stay in our hotels, shop in our outlet centers, catch movies in our theatres, and enjoy meals in our restaurants” said Deputy County Executive and Commissioner of Suffolk County Economic Development and Planning Joanne Minieri. “Continued economic success in Suffolk County will be driven, in large part, by our ability to share Long Island assets with the rest of the world.”
“It’s fantastic that County Executive Bellone has opened the line of communication and continues to support the East End tourism market,” said Bryan DeLuca, Executive Director of the East End Tourism Alliance. “I recently attended the Governors Tourism summit and a commitment of additional available grant money from the state will enhance our ability to promote our beautiful regional assets.
“I think without question, the East End continues to be the primary engine that drives our leisure travel business and is a major economic barometer of our tourism economy,” said Moke McGowan, President of Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Southampton Mayor Mark Epley, Southampton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Besim Cukaj, and former Executive Director of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce Millie Fellingham joined the County Executive and Legislator on their visit to Tate’s Bake Shop, Book Hampton bookstore, Sunrise to Sunset Surf & Sport and Hildreth’s Home Goods.
“I was honored to have County Executive Bellone visit local businesses in the Village of Southampton to find out what is happening at the ground level,” said Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley. “His interest and support of local businesses, tourism and the East End is greatly appreciated and I look forward to seeing him in the Village of Southampton more.”
“On behalf of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce, I would like to thank County Executive Bellone for visiting the Village of Southampton this past Saturday,” said Micah Schlendorf, President of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce. “We also discussed ideas for improving business resources such as transportation, affordable housing, and increasing tourism to our beloved Hamptons communities.”
“We are a mom and pop store out on the East End and we think it’s great that the County Executive choose our establishment to visit,” said Henry Hildreth of Hildreth Home Goods. “We have been in business since 1842, the oldest family-owned department store in the United States. The secret is great customer service, quality products, fair pricing, and taking personal pride in your business.”
"How refreshing to be with County Executive Steve Bellone, who, during National Tourism Week, came to Southampton Village,” which was settled in 1640 and is the oldest colony on Eastern Long Island said Millie Fellingham, who has 30 years experience in the tourism industry and had served 20 years as Executive Director of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce. “He also graciously accepted my quick 'historic' tour of our beautiful quaint village! Way to go, Mr. Bellone!”
About National Tourism Week
The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984, established by a Congressional joint resolution passed in 1983.
The U.S. travel community has collectively marked the event in a number of creative ways, from staging local rallies and conducting media outreach to securing proclamations and resolutions from local legislative bodies. Each year, localized events are presented in cities, states and travel businesses nationwide to champion the power of travel.
(L to R) Legislator Jay Schneiderman; Kathleen King, Owner of Tate’s Bake Shop; Besim Cukaj, Southampton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Southampton Mayor Mark Epley; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (R) has a chat with Book Hampton Manager Taylor Berry (L)
(L to R) Legislator Jay Schneiderman; Millie Fellingham, Former Executive Director of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce; County Executive Steve Bellone; Hildreth Chief Operating Officer David Dempsey; Besim Cukaj, Southampton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors