The Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a "Surprise Me Pass" program that offers members discounts at over 250 Syracuse-area attractions, restaurants, and stores including a number of city restaurants. $20 for the card will get you discounts around Central New York for a whole year.
Initially, I liked the idea - and liked how the city was being proactive about... well... something. But I think they need to take this a step further in order for it to really catch on. Before I started researching local eateries for this blog, I was amazed at how little information there was for city restaurants online. Essentially, lack of exposure is one of the reasons why I started Pulled Into Syracuse. I've had a few stop overs in various East-Coast and Upstate New York cities, but I've more or less lived in B'ville my whole life and I was researching places online that I had never even heard of until I moved into Syracuse in '07. And they weren't just hole-in-the-wall places, they were legitimately good restaurants that have been there for years. That being said, instead of targeting "tourists" from Buffalo or Rochester with this program, wouldn't a better plan of action be to capitalize on what you already have and what you want to improve? (i.e. city residents and city restaurants). Start a professional-looking website that gives in-depth details on all city attractions, restaurants, and stores (sigh...I suppose you could include Carousel....) and market the card or program towards Central New Yorkers, but more specifically, Syracuse city residents. Maybe even have a larger discount for people who are brand new city residents. Then they go online, they see a few interesting places they've never been before and wham - you have people spending local money on the local economy. All while promoting the city.
At any rate, the current card does offer discounts at some restaurants in the city, so if you are interested in the "Surprise Me Pass", check the YourTownCard website for more details.