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Millions visit, billions spent: Seneca at the heart of Finger Lakes’ success

Following the announcement that 5.56 million people visited the Finger Lakes region in 2018 and spent a total $2.43 billion tourism, officials rejoiced.

While certain industries may not be as strong as they were in decades past, tourism has risen to become the driver of the Finger Lakes.

Travel Marketing Insights conducted the comprehensive study on behalf the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, which covers a 14 county, 9,000 square mile area.

The goal was to learn more about consumer visitor habits, industry trends, and thought processes about the travel and tourism industry as a whole.

It was found that, in 2018, the Finger Lakes Region saw 5.56 million visitors. 4.86 million of those visitors were termed “leisure visitors”, meaning those who were not traveling for business purposes. These visitors were found to stay in the area for an average of 3.4 days and 2.4 nights and spent a combined $2.432 billion.

Jeff Shipley, President & CEO of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce said the results reinforced what they knew, but provided another opportunity to positively market the County.

“The recent report that was commissioned by the FLTA reinforced much of the strategic planning information that the Seneca County Chamber and other local businesses have already been using to market our tourism product,” he explained.

Parts of the data collected piqued Shipley’s interest. “The report suggested that the region’s typical visitor comes from within a day’s driving distance – specifically other parts of New York State, Pennsylvania and Canada. We certainly agree with this assessment, as our internal reports indicate the same pattern.”

There was also a big win for Seneca County inside that report, which pointed to Seneca as the most-visited community in the 14 county area. Shipley said that state parks, wineries, and historic sites were among the drivers of that multi-billion dollar industry in the region.

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