Report: $2.43 billion spent by Finger Lakes visitors

More than 5.5 million people visited the Finger Lakes region in 2018, and 4.86 million of those visitors were deemed “leisure visitors,” a new study from the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance shows.

The study, conducted on behalf of the FLTA by Travel Market Insights, found that visitors to the 14 county region stayed in the area for an average of 3.4 days and 2.4 nights and spent a combined $2.432 billion.

The report found that 81 percent of visitors were directly influenced by information received from the FLTA in terms of which attractions to visit. Nearly two-thirds of visitors chose to extend their stay in the region based on FLTA information.

“There was a clear and present need to conduct updated research,” FLTA President Cindy Kimble said in a statement, noting that the last time a regional research study was conducted of this nature was in 2007. “With updated metrics, changes within the tourism landscape and an ever-changing model for how the visitor and locals plan, strategize and execute travel habit, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance board of directors recognized the dire need for updated research and data to both growth the alliance as well as acquire a better understanding of how to help area businesses within the economy of tourism at a larger scale.”

The FLTA this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a gala on May 4 at the Ramada Plaza Geneva Lakefront Resort. The agency was founded to enhance and promote visitor businesses for a 9,000-square-mile region including the 14 counties that make up the Finger Lakes Region.

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Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance celebrates milestone anniversary

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance in May will celebrate its 100th anniversary at a gala honoring the nonprofit organization’s past, present and future.

Letchworth State Park is a highlight of the Finger Lakes Region.
Letchworth State Park is a highlight of the Finger Lakes Region.

The May 4 event will be presented by CK Cellars and will be held at the Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Geneva Lakefront Resort, situated at the north end of Seneca Lake in Geneva. CK Cellars is the parent company of Torrey Ridge Winery, Earle Estates Meadery, WortHog Cidery, CuKi Fine Wines and Rooster Hill Vineyards.

“We are thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance’s 100th anniversary celebration and look forward to furthering the Finger Lakes region and our relationship with the FLTA and its nearly 700 partners,” CK Cellars Principal Paul Curcillo said.

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is the longest-standing regional destination marketing organization in the U.S.

“For a century, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance has been committed to growing tourism in the region,” FLTA President Cynthia Kimble said in a statement. “At the time the FLTA was founded, tourism was a burgeoning industry and now we have a $3 billion industry supporting over 58,000 jobs in the region, with the numbers growing year over year.”

FLTA was founded April 25, 1919, in Auburn as a cooperative to promote tourism in the region. The group faced three challenges: cooperatively marketing the Finger Lakes region; developing signage; and ensuring service stations were equipped to handle horseless carriages.

In 1967, the Finger Lakes region and its 14 counties were designated by New York State as the Finger Lakes Region. The FLTA works with its partners and market research firms to determine the best investments in marketing to attract visitors to the region, ensuring partner growth and success.

In February, legislation taking the first step toward designating the Finger Lakes region as a National Heritage Area passed the Senate and the House of Representatives. The  Natural Resources Management Act now heads to President Trump, who has suggested he will pass it.

The Finger Lakes Region is home to more than 400 registered historic sites and landmarks, 135 museums, 80 art galleries, 14 professional theater companies, 100 wineries, 300 bed and breakfast establishments, 1,063 waterfalls and gorges, 26 state parks, 2,000 miles of hiking and biking trails and 650 miles of shoreline.

Tickets for the gala event can be purchased online.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer