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Finger Lakes National Heritage Corridor designation could boost tourism

Efforts to get national recognition for the Finger Lakes area as a tourist destination could bring tourists, and their spending power, from all over the country to Upstate New York. The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance has been overseeing the already years-long effort, which is about to begin a feasibility survey by the National Park Service.

That step could take 2 – 3 years, according to Cynthia Kimble, who heads up the Finger Lakes marketing group, but if it's positive, and Congress then approves, it would put the Finger Lakes in elite company: only 55 other parts of the country have the Heritage Corridor designation, which brings with it spots on the National Park Service website.

Kimble says the designation would cover 9,000 square miles–the chunk of Upstate New York from the Pennsylvania Border to Lake Ontario, bordered from just east of (and including) Syracuse to just west of Rochester.

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is the country's oldest regional destination marketing effort, celebrating its 100th anniversary in Geneva next Saturday. The Ballroom at the Geneva Lakefront Ramada is already sold out, but they've added 100 waterfront seats for the gala. Proceeds, says Kimble, will go to a scholarship fund for a student in the travel/tourism industry. Paying it forward, for an industry that will boom here, if the Heritage Corridor designation comes through.
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