Promotion to Lure New Englanders to Long Island Wine Country is Extended

New London, Connecticut   June 11, 2007   Travel News
(PRLEAP.COM) RIVERHEAD, NY (June 11, 2007) — A less-than-three-month old campaign that has lured thousands of New Englanders to Long Island’s Wine is being extended through the summer tourism season.

The campaign, a joint initiative of the Long Island Wine Council and the Cross Sound Ferry, offers sharply discounted ferry travel Monday through Thursday and on Saturday and special discounts at participating wineries and restaurants. The promotion began on March 22 and originally was to end June 7.

So far, the wine country program has attracted more than 1,000 vehicle reservations on the ferry with an average occupancy of 3.8 people per vehicle, said Stanley W. Mickus, Director of Marketing and Public Affairs of New London, CT-based Cross Sound Ferry Services, Inc., which provides transportation between New London and Orient Point, on the tip of Long Island’s North Fork.

The promotional round-trip fare is $55 — good for the driver and up to five additional passengers — represents a significant value for travelers embarking at New London. The current regular one-way fare, including fuel surcharge, for a car and driver is $44.

Beyond offering value for tourists, the promotion is expected to bring new and lasting exposure of Long Island’s more than 40 wine producers in what is considered an important market with millions of potential visitors.

The Long Island Wine Council, an industry trade group, which has utilized a grant from the New York State Wine & Grape Foundation to help fund the promotion, is making a concerted effort to reach wine lovers in New England through a presence at the Boston Wine Expo in March and through the ferry promotion. “We are now hoping to continue our partnership and extend the promotion through the summer and then again, following our traditional peak tourist season,” said Steven L. Bate, Executive Director of the Long Island Wine Council.

“Going forward, these types of programs will generate significant awareness of Long Island Wine Country in New England and have a very positive impact on tourism and the economy on the North Fork,” Mickus said. “I agree with the County Executive in that what we are selling is an experience — the wine lover's experience — beginning at the moment they get on the ferry to the time they get off at Orient Point and see the sign that reads welcome to Long Island Wine Country and right on to the end of their visit.”

Assemblyman Marc S. Alessi (D-Wading River) added, “Our first-class wineries are a large part of what makes the North Fork so unique to the rest of Long Island and the whole downstate area for that matter. Tourism is vital to our local economy and our wine industry is its backbone. I look forward to doing all that I can in my capacity at the state level to foster growth in our agri-tourism economy."

“The ferry promotion adds to the awareness and exposure the East End wineries need,” said
Bob Kern, general manager of Martha Clara Vineyards. “Martha Clara and others have seen an increase in traffic from our New England neighbors. We are pleased the Cross Sound Ferry is continuing this fantastic promotion.”

Joseph Gergela III, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, applauded the campaign, saying, we've always had a partnership with Cross Sound Ferry," said Gergela. "They play a vital role in tourism and in bringing more people here. We depend upon visitors."

Moke McGowan, President of the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission, said, “The ambience of Long Island's Wine Country holds a strong appeal for time-impoverished consumers looking for an easy and hassle-free ‘get-away’ vacation to recharge their batteries. And through its promotional efforts and partnership with the Long Island Wine Council, the Cross Sound Ferry has proven that it is the unmatched, hassle-free gateway to Long Island's Wine Country and the North Fork for New England residents.”

McGowan added, “The strength of Long Island's tourism industry is greatly enhanced when our diverse industry partners come together to collectively promote a greater awareness of all that this Island of surprises has to offer and to help drive visitation.”

For more information about the promotion, which requires advanced reservations and prepayment, go to www.longislandferry.com and click on the LI Wine Country link or call (860) 443-528. For more information about Long Island wineries go to www.liwines.com.

Cross Sound Ferry's fleet of nine luxurious vessels makes any vacation, business trip or group tour relaxing while enjoying a cruise across majestic Long Island Sound, one of America's most beautiful and scenic bodies of water. Seven of these vessels can accommodate autos, trucks, motor homes, and buses along with passengers. Cross Sound Ferry also offers high-speed, passenger only ferry service between Long Island, making the 16-mile crossing between Orient Point and New London in just 40 minutes.
The Long Island Wine Council, founded in 1989, is an industry association dedicated to achieving recognition for Long Island as a premium wine producing region. Its role is to provide a coordinated effort for the promotion and development of the region’s wine industry. The council has 39 full members.

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