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A ‘Vital Economic Engine’

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday said his administration wants to make the Progressive New York Boat Show the “greatest boat show in the country” during a ribbon-cutting opening to mark its 115th year. In a video posted on Currents, NMMA’s online newsletter, Cuomo also spoke about the importance of the boating and fishing industries to New York’s economy. The governor was joined by NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer, who also talked about the importance of the outdoor recreation sector to the U.S. economy.

“Driving these sales is our continued strong economy and the fact that consumers are seeking ways to find quality time,” Hugelmeyer said. “Americans are showing an increased interest in getting outdoors. The outdoor recreation economy continues to outpace U.S. domestic growth and is now on par with telecommunications. Fifteen states have recognized that it’s an economic giant. With that growth comes the need to focus on conservation. Americans need to demand clean water and healthy fish populations. Conservation efforts need to be directly funded.”

Hugelmeyer praised New York’s recreation economy, saying the state ranks among the top five states where outdoor recreation accounts for the largest percentage of GDP.

Cuomo echoed that theme, noting that boating is an $8 billion industry in the state, with thousands of businesses. He said the state recently launched the Restore Mother Nature initiative. “It’s a $3 billion program to restore fisheries, clean up waters and build the world’s longest artificial reef in Long Island,” Cuomo said, noting that “fishermen were the first environmentalists.”

Like Hugelmeyer, Cuomo said boating has played an important role in his family’s life. “Most of our family pictures were taken in boats,” he said. “Those are still our best moments.”

Cuomo said boating and fishing remain a “vital economic engine” for New York. He wants the New York show to expand after the completion of an extension to the Javits Center next year. “We’d like to see this show move from 350 to 500 boats,” Cuomo said. “We want to make it the greatest boat show in the U.S.A.”

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