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Episode Info: The 2019 NYS Tourism Excellence Award winners will be honored at the New York State Tourism Industry Association’s annual meeting on September 27. I had the privilege of talking to each of the winners about their award-winning programs, how those programs impacted tourism in their area and what they learned from being part of the program. The interviews had underlying themes of creativity, partnership, celebration and storytelling. This episode shares the wisdom and stories of those award winners, and I hope you come away as motivated and enlightened as I did. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I share my conversations with: David Lee, Marketing Operations Manager at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection Rob Casetti, Senior Director at Corning Museum of Glass Jennifer Sammartino, Deputy Chief of Staff for Visit Staten Island Scott Keller, Executive Director of Hudson Valley River National Heritage Area Jennifer Ackerson, owner of ALON Marketing Group What You Will Learn in This Episode: David Lee’s best advice to tourism marketing professionals from his experiences at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection and other places The 150-year history of glass in Corning and what Corning Museum of Glass did to make their monumental Glass Barge project a resounding success How Jennifer Sammartino and Visit Staten Island took their destination from “the fifth borough” to a vibrant, bustling destination with a great waterfront corridor The ingenuity of Scott Keller’s Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area team, as they devised an app to tell the story of all the national heritage sites along the Hudson River Rail line. What Jennifer Ackerson and her company, ALON Marketing Group, do to give back to New York’s destinations and teach the state’s businesses how to grow and be successful tourism spots Finger Lakes Visitors Connection David Lee is the Marketing Operations Manager for the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, a position he has held for almost four years. Prior to that, David got his start busing tables, bartending, and eventually managing the IT at Lakes Nama and Canandaigua. David’s technological experience helped him land a job in tourism, where he has stayed for the past ten years. In the tourism industry, David has come to love helping people spend their free time enjoying themselves in the places that he’s grown up. He likes shaping experiences and seeing the things he’s worked so hard on benefit people directly, even if it’s just a map helping them to find their way. David encourages all tourism professionals to embrace their own leadership if they want to find themselves in management positions. He stressed creativity, knowing your strengths, and knowing your weaknesses when making decisions and taking on projects. Finally, David reminds all of us of how crucial it is that we take risks, be vulnerable, and make mistakes to learn and grow as tourism professionals. Following this advice is how David won the Exc...
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