Discover Upstate NY website wins NYS Tourism Excellence Award

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express

Tourism website includes 48 distinct Penn Yan listings, as well as numerous others for Keuka, Seneca, and Canandaigua lakes

One of the pages of the award-winning Discover Upstate NY website.

One of New York state’s newest tourism websites,, was recently recognized at the NYSTIA awards ceremony last month for its vigorous and committed efforts in keeping tourism alive by alerting, updating and advising visitors about restrictions of the pandemic, from its lockdown to reopening.

Discover Upstate NY (DUNY) received the Award of Excellence in Overall Tourism Marketing by a Private Sector Entity. The website features more than 2,900 attractions including hundreds of restaurants, hotels, tourism attractions and historical sites, and focuses on family fun and adventure tourism throughout the cities and regions of upstate New York, west of the Hudson River.

DUNY logo

The 2021 New York State Tourism Excellence Awards acknowledged the work done in crisis conditions during the 2020 pandemic year. Destination marketing organizations, museums, attractions, and other tourism related businesses gathered virtually to honor the efforts of their peers. The event was presented as a webcast from the New York State Museum co-hosted by Ross Levi, Vice President / Executive Director of Tourism at Empire State Development / NYS Division of Tourism; and Josiah Brown, Board Chair of the New York State Tourism Industry Association.

“Each year at these awards I am amazed at the creativity, commitment and innovation demonstrated by tourism professionals across the state," reflected Brown. “But the work done in 2020 wasn't just good, or even great … at times it rose to the level of heroic."

The New York State Tourism Excellence Awards are juried by an impartial panel of industry experts under the auspices of the New York State Tourism Industry Association. Nominations were up 250 percent versus 2019, and the judges were challenged by both the volume and the caliber of the entries.

“DUNY and our dedicated team of writers, graphic designers, technical advisors, photographers, social media experts and editors are honored and thrilled to receive this prestigious award from such a distinguished tourism association as NYSTIA,” said David Granoff, of Oswego, who is the chief editor, administrator, and visionary of DUNY. “We’ve worked hard to bring awareness to the many fantastic attractions and opportunities that are available to travelers, and our website, maps and social media platforms provide comprehensive and useful resources for visitors of all ages to enjoy the beauty, excitement and fun that the Great State of New York has to offer.”

He pointed out that the tourism website also highlights 66 cities in the eight regions of Upstate New York, which includes 48 distinct Penn Yan listings, as well as numerous others for Keuka, Seneca, and Canandaigua lakes.

Granoff noted his team includes content editor and writer Debra Lupien Denny of North Syracuse; social media expert Charmaine Daniels of Albany; blog writer Theresa Farrell of Cohoes; and graphic designers and web specialists Keith Calveric and Andrew Pushlar of KCNY Design, Syracuse.

COVID-19 presented a disproportionate challenge to the tourism industry and tourism-related or dependent businesses were among the most adversely affected due to COVID regulations and restrictions. As a result, tourism industry professionals redirected their efforts in new directions, supporting local residents and sustaining local businesses, while rising to the occasion to meet unprecedented health-related guidelines and special needs for travelers.

“Working collaboratively in New York State’s tourism community enables you to network with some of the best minds, most experienced individuals and trendsetting thought leaders in the global tourism industry,” stated Bob Provost, president of the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA). “The individuals, campaigns, initiatives and projects being honored are world-class. I am humbled by their achievements and service to their communities in 2020.”

About promotes a diverse variety of tourism opportunities for enthusiasts both near and far. The site presents over 2,900+ tourism attractions, a robust event calendar, blog posts, and interactive map of all nine tourism regions of Upstate NY, west of the Hudson River. Focusing heavily on family fun, the site promotes a wide list of ever-growing categories and appeals to persons of all ages and interests. In addition to places to dine and stay, historic places and museums, camping and RVing, glamping, nature hiking, kayaking and winter skiing, etc. DUNY also features dozens of lesser-known activities such as zip lining, boat tours, hiking & biking along the Erie Canal, wine-tasting and culinary tours throughout the state.

About New York State Tourism Industry Association

The New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) advances economic growth, job creation, community revitalization, quality of life and pride of place by realizing the potential of New York State's tourism industry and facilitating the success of its members. It serves New York State's tourism industry through collaborative initiatives, research, legislative awareness, and exceptional marketing.