A new welcome center has opened on the shores of Seneca Lake in Geneva. It is one of 11 being built across the state.
The Finger Lakes Welcome Center will be operated by New York Kitchen, formerly the New York Wine and Culinary Center, and features a “Wine and Water” theme to promote the world-renowned assets of the Finger Lakes. It will be the first welcome center to sell New York State-made wine, beer and cider at its Taste NY Market.
“The Finger Lakes are one of New York’s greatest treasures, and the new welcome center in Geneva celebrates the region’s rich culture and heritage and encourages visitors to explore the world-class attractions,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “Tourism is vital to regional economies across the state, and our new visitor and spending records are proof positive of the success of our investments.”
In 2017, New York welcomed nearly 244 million visitors who generated $67.7 billion in direct spending, breaking previous tourism records, state officials said this week. Tourism is at the core of the new Finger Lakes Welcome Center, with multiple interactive I Love New York kiosks positioned throughout the facility, allowing visitors to test their knowledge of the region or design a trip itinerary.
The Taste NY Market will offer hot and cold lunch options such as seasonal soups and salads, sandwiches and a kids menu, all made from ingredients and products grown and produced by local farmers. The market also will offer grab-and-go snacks and gifts.
“The new Finger Lakes Welcome Center will serve as a destination for travelers and promote the great local attractions, beverages and food in the region,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “This project continues to move the Finger Lakes forward, strengthening communities and growing the economy in the area.”
An I Love New York sculpture is featured outside the new center and a Walk of Fame recognizes famous New Yorkers from the region. The welcome center has outdoor seating with a view of the lake, as well as a children’s play area.
“Tourism is a vibrant and vital aspect of the economy in Ontario County,” said Jack Marren, chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors and Victor town supervisor. “The center will provide a hospitable welcome to visitors and promote all of the attractions and businesses, products and services in the Finger Lakes for years to come.”
In 2016, the City of Geneva won the state’s first $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant for the Finger Lakes region. One of 10 grants awarded statewide and administered through regional economic development councils, DRI is designed to fund priority projects that transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise a family.
Since that win, Geneva has sought to leverage its historic assets and natural resources; support businesses, educational resources and workforce development initiatives; provide a range of services and amenities to its diverse community members; ensure its downtown and waterfront are seamlessly integrated; and serve as stewards of its natural and historic resources.
The new Finger Lakes Welcome Center is one piece of that puzzle.
“The City of Geneva is pleased to be home to the new regional Finger Lakes Welcome Center,” Geneva Mayor Ronald Alcock said in a statement. “I have no doubt that it will serve to attract even more visitors to the region while highlighting the wide range of destinations, products and local businesses that call the Finger Lakes home.”
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