NEW CITY, N.Y. - Lucy Redzeposki wants to put Rockland on the map.
Roughly a year ago Redzeposki took over as director of tourism, economic development, and workforce development in Rockland. Since then she has made it her mission to better establish Rockland as a destination by targeting international tourists from China, supporting local tourism efforts like Visit Nyack, Explore Harriman, and the Rivertowns promotion, and marketing what is already here.
“I grew up in Manhattan. I did not know Rockland County existed until I went to college,” Redzeposki, an Ossining resident, recalled. She explained that historically people haven’t stopped in Rockland because it hasn’t been promoted. Once people know, they will come. “But you can’t come if you don’t know.”
Redzeposki will be one of the key speakers at a county-wide networking event Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza Suffern-Mahwah focused on collaborative economic development efforts. The location of the event is a fitting venue.
“The ultimate goal is to have people spend the night; heads in beds,” Redzeposki said, and the county is courting these overnight visitors for the simple reason that people spend more money in an area when they stay the night.
Part of getting people to spend the night is giving them things to do. There is plenty to do in Rockland; the key to getting visitors to enjoy it all is to package it together, Redzeposki explained.
Promotion of the county’s Rivertowns—Piermont, Nyack, Haverstraw, and Stony Point—is one collaborative example of marketing the county. Another is a historic driving map.
Other noticeable promotions have been the Visit Nyack and Explore Harriman ad signs plastered on NJ Tranist and Metro North trains. ( Explore Harriman is an effort from officials and community members of towns in the “trail corridor” of Suffern, Sloatsburg, and Tuxedo to come visit and enjoy Harriman State Park.)
Rockland is a small county but the surrounding areas offer a lot. Redzeposki has been working with Hudson Valley Tourism Group to insure that visitors can stay in the county but are still able to venture throughout the rest of the region or into the city.
“The opportunities that we have here to bring in tourism and generate the income is incredible,” Redzeposki said.
According to a 2015 state tourism economic impact study , tourism represents a $3.4 billion industry that supports over 55,000 jobs in the Hudson Valley. Westchester accounted for 52 percent of traveler spending last year; Rockland accounted for 13 percent but the hope is this will increase.
The county has made a concerted effort to court international travelers, specifically targeting visitors from China.
In April, Redzeposki, County Executive Ed Day, and others took Chinese travel tour operators on a bus tour of Rockland to show off what is here . An investment has been made to educate employees at county hotels, attractions, restaurants, and retail businesses on how to welcome Chinese traveler, make them feel comfortable.
The county is also putting itself out there regionally, advertising in The New York Times and more recently partnering with the New York Daily News’ paid content studio for inserts about the county and it’s villages.
And the burgeoning filming industry—helped by state tax incentives—is expected to attract more production companies to the area. Currently being finalized is a new filming guide that will rundown what shows have filmed here, places to film, and provide a breakdown of how to film in each village.