Bringing 21st century tech to historic sites

By Matt Porter

January 13, 2014 Updated Jan 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a 21st century solution to bring more visitors to Upstate tourist sites.

The governor announced the planned creation of a new smart phone app to promote all of New York's historic and cultural destinations to travelers.

Broome County historian Gerry Smith said bringing the new technology to local regions makes sense.

"Today we're a very mobile society," Smith said. "We're learning to live with the GPSes (sic) in our cars and our smart phones in our pocket."

The plan will use highway signs to promote a single online portal for all of New York's tourism campaigns.

The plan also unites smaller destinations together to market them as one region.

Smith is helping coordinate the creation, 75 individual videos for local sites that could end up on the new app.

The money for the videos comes from $100,000 grant awarded by the governor's regional economic development council.

"We need to cooperate together," Smith said. "We need to share those resources, so everybody benefits."

Lt. Governor Robert Duffy visited Binghamton as part of his push for Cuomo's 2014 plan.

He said the new app fits the needs of today's traveler.

"You can go on an app if you’re with your family and you want to stop somewhere, or if you're in a region, you can see what's available," Duffy said. "It's a great way to have it at your fingertips on your smart phone."

At the Ross Park Zoo, the fifth oldest in the country and a major destination in Binghamton, director Steve Contento said he's excited more New Yorkers will have easy access to the zoo online.

"We have a very long rich heritage that we'd like everybody to enjoy and learn more about," Contento said.

For communities, home to historical sites, the value of attracting more visitors is simple according to Smith.

"The more people who stop and learn and listen and maybe spend their money, the better it is for our economy," Smith said.

Governor Cuomo said his tourism plan will begin with the installation of new signs across the state this month.

A fully functional smart phone app could be ready by the summer season.