The Director of Visit Binghamton, the tourism branch of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, Judi Hess is on this weekend's edition of the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up to mark National Tourism Week.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News - Judi Hess, Director Visit Binghamton

Hess says the exciting thing about the Binghamton area is that it is always adding new and interesting things to see and do to the decades-old favorites like Ross Park Zoo, the Roberson, Bundy and Phelps Museums and natural attractions.

National Tourism Week is May 6-10, but Hess says the region has something for locals and visitors to see and do year-round.  She says many of those attractions may come as a surprise like the recent advent of people choosing destinations to visit based on food experiences.

Other areas of interest growing in the Greater Binghamton area include craft beverages, interactive arts experiences like a ceramics and painting studio above a secret "Speak-Easy" on Court Street and chances to explore the natural environment.

Hess says people may be surprised at the amount of impact tourism and things like conventions have on the local economy with the destination-planned tourism aspect rapidly growing.  She adds the expansion of programs at Binghamton University and SUNY Broome are aiding in bringing new people into the area interested in exploring what the region has to offer.

Hess says there is even talk of building on having the new Mets affiliated baseball team in Syracuse so near to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and the Mets parent organization in New York City coordinating together for events or promotions to appeal to tried-and-true Mets fans.

Natives and visitors alike can fine out more about things to see, festivals, performances and other attractions in the area by going to www.VisitBinghamton.org.

Southern Tier Close Up is heard Saturdays at 6 a.m. on 98.1 The Hawk.