Tourism Leaders will be Keynote Speakers at Oct. 22 Heritage Tourism Workshop

SYRACUSE – Two of New York State’s leading experts in tourism marketing and heritage sites will be keynote speakers at the Oct. 22 Visitor Readiness Workshop for museums, historic sites and cultural organizations. Markly Wilson, Director of International Marketing for New York State’s Division of Tourism, and Mark Castiglione, Acting Executive Director of the Hudson Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area, will be guest speakers at the Visitor Readiness Workshop sponsored by the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

                “We are honored to have as featured speakers two of the leading marketing experts in the state tourism industry,” said Lynn “Spike” Herzig, director of the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network. “These individuals are considered leaders in their respective fields and bring a wealth of experience in tourism promotion and developing heritage tourism assets in New York State.”

The workshop will be held at the Ramada Syracuse, 1305 Buckley Road, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 22. Registration is $45 for network members and $55 for non-members and includes the all-day workshop, luncheon and keynote speakers, and a take-home workbook regarding visitor readiness. To register, call 315-521-3985 or visithttp://nychtn.com/rsvp/signup.html.

Mark Castiglione is the Acting Executive Director of the Hudson River Valley Greenway and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.  He works with elected officials, state agencies, non-profit organizations, the business community and private citizens to advance community partnerships that protect and promote regional natural, cultural and historic resources in the Hudson River Valley.

Castiglione provides technical assistance to communities regarding the comprehensive planning process, natural and cultural resources protection, economic development and heritage education, and works with senior staff on program development, policy guidelines, communications, and media outreach to advance regional planning, trail development, and heritage tourism in the Hudson River Valley.  Castiglione also serves as a liaison with regional work groups on the New York State Path through History initiative. 

He is Vice President of the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association, representing nearly 800 professional planners, students and planning board officials throughout Upstate New York. He is a certified planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).  He holds a BA in US History and Master’s degree in regional planning from the University at Albany.   

As Director of International Marketing for the New York State Division of Tourism, Markly Wilson is responsible for generating increased international travel to the state of New York. He has extensive experience in developing strategic marketing plans to help communities and regions assess and market their tourism resources.  As president of The Wilson Company consultancy, Wilson’s clients have ranged from the Lakota Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, to Harlem in New York, the Government of Belize, Clinton and Warren Counties in New York, and a 14-city region of Massachusetts.

Wilson served as Director of Marketing for the Caribbean Tourism Organization, United States Manager for the Tourist Board of Barbados, and managed the New York Watchable Wildlife Program, a collaborative project between federal and state agencies, not for profit organizations and businesses.  Wilson is a graduate of St. Claire College in Windsor, Ontario and Adelphi University in Long Island, and served on the faculty of New York University where he lectured on Ecotourism.

Other presenters at the Oct. 22 workshop include Lori Solomon, Director of Tourism Development and Marketing for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor; John Sagendorf, Route 20 Association; Catherine Gilbert, Museum Association of New York; Daniel Ward, Erie Canal Museum; Dot Willsey, Gerritt Smith Estate National Historic Landmark; Billye Chabot, Seward House Museum; David Hutchings, Sonnenberg Gardens; and Janet Clerkin, Oswego County Tourism Office.

“The visitor readiness workshop is designed for board members, staff and volunteers of cultural and historic sites and organizations in New York State,” said Solomon. “Panelists will discuss their experiences and advise on strategies for assessing a visitor’s first impression, staff training, interpretation of brochures and exhibits, and spreading a positive message about a heritage site. We’ll share recent data on the economic impact of heritage tourism, and help sites plan their next steps for making positive changes in their historic site or cultural venue.”

The New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network is a coalition of nearly 100 arts, culture and heritage tourism attractions and venues from across New York State. For information, visit www.nychtn.com