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TOURIST ATTRACTIONS TO GET BOOST FROM THRUWAY'S SIGN PROGRAM

Tourist attractions near Thruway exits will receive what could be a big boost in business from the placement of relatively little signs. The New York State Thruway Authority is expanding its Logo Sign Program to include a new category called "attractions."

In addition to informing Thruway travelers of lodging facilities, camping sites and services such as food and fuel stops, signs now will promote the state's tourist destinations.

"Without a doubt, the best way to advertise New York's tourist attractions is on the Thruway," said Assemblyman Paul A. Tokasz, D-Cheektowaga, who serves as chairman of the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development. "It's a heavily traveled thoroughfare for both instate and out-of-state visitors and the most logical place to advertise New York's appeal."

Getting the Thruway Authority to add attractions to its signage program has been at the top of the tourism industry's wish list for years. "Statewide, the more we can get the word out about attractions, the easier it is to sell a destination," said John Oliver, vice president of tourism for the Greater Buffalo Convention & Visitors Bureau. Oliver said the new signage could be particularly important for those travelers who may not have a particular destination in mind. A properly placed sign could convince them to pull off and take a look at what is available.

In order to qualify for the Thruway program, an attraction must be located within 15 miles of a Thruway ramp and parking, restrooms and drinking water must be available. The prospective destination must draw an average daily crowd of 100 people, and operate at least four days per week during seasonal or annual operation. Application must be made to the program.

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