HelpContact UsFOILSite Map

Custom Navigation

Living in Tompkins County linkLearning in Tompkins County linkVisiting Tompkins County linkBusiness in Tompkins County linkTompkins County Government link

You are here:

You are here

> Tompkins County Tourism Program

Tompkins County Tourism Program

Promoting Economic Development

Enhancing Quality of Life

Here you will find information about tourism grant programs and other initiatives of the Tompkins County Tourism Program. When visitors stay in hotels or bed and breakfasts in Tompkins County, they pay a hotel room occupancy tax. These funds are collected by County government from lodging operators and are re-invested in a variety of tourism initiatives that promote economic development and enhance local quality of life. All investments are aligned with the Tompkins County 2020 Strategic Tourism Plan.

Fall 2016 Tourism Grant funding opportunities have been announced. For a summary of grant programs, check out these slides from the most recent Tompkins County tourism grant workshop: WORKSHOP SUMMARY. For additional details, follow the links to the left. Recommendations for grant funding are made by the Strategic Tourism Planning Board, an advisory board to the Tompkins County Legislature.

Enter your email address below to subscribe to periodic updates.


 The 2020 Strategic Tourism Plan was accepted by the Tompkins County Legislature on September 18, 2012
The Plan seeks to inspire action to support tourism development in Tompkins County on a community-based model of tourism development in which our attraction as a destination is the combination of unique experiences and offerings that also makes Tompkins County a great place to live, work, go to school, retire and grow a business.

The 2020 Strategic Tourism Plan

Appendix A Possible Actions
Appendix B Performance Indicators

Appendix C Chmura Study

Appendix D 2005-2010 Plan


News Release November 14, 2014

Agriculinary Tourism Launch Event a Success

On November 10th, 110 local farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, lodging partners, wine and craft beverage makers, tourism entrepreneurs, and tastemakers attended a lively workshop at The Space at Greenstar.  Participants ate delicious local fare provided by local food producers and restaurants and explored creative ideas for helping further develop Ithaca and Tompkins County as a regional hub of culinary and agritourism.  The slides from the workshop are available for download HERE.  

Tompkins County Strategic Tourism Planning Board and its partners will use the results from this successful launch event to develop an implementation strategy for strengthening agri-culinary tourism in our community.  A draft of the plan will be released in early 2015.

 Contact:Tom Knipe, Tompkins County Planning, 274-5560

News Release August 6, 2014

Legislature Accepts Tompkins Priority Trails Strategy

After hearing a presentation by Tom Knipe of the County Planning Department, the Legislature by unanimous vote accepted the Tompkins Priority Trails Strategy, a vision for networked trails in Tompkins County.The strategy, developed through collaboration involving the County Planning Department and Tourism Program, and the Creating Healthy Places Project of the Human Services Coalition and Health Planning Council, identifies 23 specific near-term actions that can be taken collectively by municipalities, the County, State, groups, and other stakeholders to develop and sustain five key trails that will move the County toward a cohesive trail network and local recreation and transportation resource.

The strategy supports the implementation of a Critical Action identified in the County's 2020 Strategic Tourism Plan and seeks to develop a destination quality trail resource that would be likely to attract an additional $3 - $5 million in annual visitor spending into the Tompkins County area. County acceptance demonstrates its support for key actions and priorities expressed in the strategy. Contact:Tom Knipe, Tompkins County Planning, 274-5560.

Tourism Partner Award

The Tompkins Tourism Partner Award recognizes individuals, organizations, and associations who through their voluntary actions have made a positive impact on the local economy by attracting visitors to Tompkins County for meetings, conferences and events.

Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis from local hotel sales staff, STPB members, Legislature members, and the Ithaca Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Awards are made twice a year by the Tompkins County Legislature and are commemorated with an engraved paving stone at a trailhead of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. Past award recipients include the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity for hosting their 100-year anniversary in Ithaca, Mark Wenham for organizing the annual TurkeyShoot Lacrosse Tournament, and the NCUR Executive Committee at Ithaca College for bringing this large national conference to Ithaca in 2011. Nomination Forms are here.  Submit completed forms via email to the Tompkins County Tourism Program; mail to 121 E. Court St., Ithaca NY 14850; or fax to 274-5578.

News Release
May 4, 2010

Study Paints Detailed Picture of Tompkins Visitors

Ithaca, NY -- After two years of research, the Tompkins County Legislator's Strategic Tourism Planning Board and the Ithaca/Tompkins Convention and Visitors Bureau will unveil a report, May 4, documenting the motivations, spending habits and demographics of Tompkins County visitors.

The comprehensive research project used proprietary lodging data, public economic statistics, detailed surveys and hundreds of in-person interviews to create a statistically accurate profile of Tompkins visitors. The information is critical to the tourism community, local restaurant owners and specialty retailers who rely on visitors for a significant portion of their revenues.

Among the report's findings, the county attracted more than 840,000 visitors in 2009, generating $156 million in associated spending and supporting more than 2,300 jobs. Visitors spent an average $185 per person, per trip in 2009 with 35% of their spending going to food and drink, 28% to lodging and 25% to shopping. Visitors tend to be highly educated with high household incomes. Cornell, the county's gorges/waterfalls, the downtown Commons and the local dining scene are ranked as the top visitor attractions.

"This study validates many assumptions we've been making over the years and provides numbers to back them up," said Fred Bonn, director of the Ithaca/Tompkins visitors bureau. "You need hard data to make smart decisions and this report provides us real detail to move forward."

The comprehensive research project was commissioned by the county's Strategic Tourism Planning Board and funded by the county Tourism Program, with project management from the Ithaca/Tompkins CVB. Research firm Chmura Economics and Analytics conducted the study and authored the final report. The Chmura report is the first detailed look at Tompkins County visitors in almost a decade. The county last surveyed visitors in 2002.

The business community and interested members of the public are invited to attend the report release presentation, May 4, at the downtown Holiday Inn, 222 South Cayuga Street. Representatives from Chmura Economics and Analytics will outline the results, methodology and implications of the report. Event registration is free. Doors open at 8:30am. Program starts at 9:00.

Digital copies of the 135-page report will be distributed free of charge at the presentation, followed by an online release below. For information, contact Bruce Stoff at the Visitors Bureau, (607) 272-1313.

Click here for Executive Summary (8 pages)
Click here to read complete Study (135 pages)

Click here to view Chmura's May 4, 2010 Powerpoint Presentation