New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday pledged a commitment of 45 million U.S. dollars this year to promote tourism and attract more visitors to the Empire State. "Tourism plays an integral role in the economy, and we will continue our work to make sure it thrives, creates jobs and generates new economic opportunities for our state," said Cuomo, who also unveiled a new tourism advertising campaign featuring celebrities including Ed Burns, Billy Joel, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and Vanessa Williams at a tourism summit held here Wednesday. This funding represents a 50 percent rise from that of last year. The number of visitors to New York is estimated to hit 218.8 million last year, a rise of 8.8 million over 2012. Tourism industry generated direct spending of 59.2 billion dollars in the state of New York last year, producing an estimated 7.5 billion dollars in state and local taxes.