The Upstate Institute at Colgate University hosted a Symposium on Cultural and Heritage Tourism on Friday, April 23, 2010 at the Oneida Mansion House in Oneida. Cultural Tourism is a term that describes travel that is directed toward experiencing the arts, heritage, and diversity of the people and landscapes of a region. The Symposium explored the best practices in the field of Cultural and Heritage Tourism and advanced conversations about how members of the Cultural Tourism industry in Madison County might work together.
Ellen Kraly of the Upstate Institute explains, “The cultural heritage of Upstate New York is tremendously rich – and needs to be placed on the national and international map of places to be visited and appreciated. We hope that this symposium will help all stakeholders in the region to draw connections among the significant sites in the county, and ultimately between the heritage of Madison County and the history of the United States.”
The Symposium began with a keynote given by New York State Senator David J. Valesky. Presentations included an overview of some best practices in the field and began with “Defining the Field and Trends in Cultural Tourism” by Lynn B. “Spike” Herzog, Chair of the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network.
“Best Practices in Southern Washington County,” explored parallels to Madison County. Christine Hoffer, Director of Tourism for Washington County, who has worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for 25 years presented her experiences bundling attractions.
Peter Wisbey, past Director of the Seward House in Auburn, presented “Collaborative Marketing Efforts from the Cultural Sites commission in the City of Auburn.” Lori Solomon-Duell the Director of Tourism Development and Marketing from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor discussed ” Creating Connections Across Different Levels of Government.”
Dr. Joan Johnson, Professor in the School of Business at Morrisville State College and Jim Walter, Executive Director of Madison County Tourism, led participants in an afternoon strategic planning session. Walter said, “Madison County and Central New York has a large number of growing and important historical and cultural attractions. The symposium will bring many of them together and give us some ideas on how to increase their visibility and viability in the future.”
“With over $71 million spent by visitors to Madison County, tourism is an important part of our economy. The cultural and historical sites we have in this area are part of that visitor experience. Visitors who travel to learn about history and for arts attractions in America are an affluent group and this symposium will help us better tap that market.”