ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — In 2018, New York State as a whole had nearly 253 million visitors, a new record up 4% from 2017.
It generated an economic impact of $114.8 billion, exceeding $100 billion for the fifth straight year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that it’s an upward trend. Upstate as a whole, and the Finger Lakes, also had strong numbers regionally.
“I think that the things that we as Upstate New Yorkers have always known are great, people are starting to learn about,” says Chris Clemens who writes the Exploring Upstate Blog.
Clemons says a combination of things are drawing people in via social media, a solid economy, and good old fashioned word of mouth.
“When you have people who live here, who are really happy and excited about the things that are happening, they’re going to tell other people,” adds Clemens. He went on to talk about the seemingly endless amount of trails, parks, and other recreation available.
Gov. Cuomo championed the State Fair as a massive draw, and it was, breaking more records. But ask many in the region, and they’ll no doubt tell you restaurants, wineries, and craft brew houses are a solid part of drawing those record crowds in. Some have done so well the past few years, they’re expanding.
Dave Bower, Jr., the president of Mayer’s Lake Ontario Wineries, says his customer foot traffic went up. They are building onto their second location in Hilton. “It actually has increased. We were looking at the numbers the other day and it’s up 12% from last year,” says Bower.
Beyond restaurants and wineries bringing tourists in, it’s also that unique fusion of urban and rural life Clemens says is a perfect blend. “There’s no end to the number of things that we get to experience living in this part of the world.”