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February 8, 2019 - 4:08pm

Big year for local tourism in 2018

posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, news, notify, chamber of commerce.

tourismkellyrapone2019.jpg

Spring sports, golf, and bus tours, filled mostly with visitors from China seeing the sights in NYC and Niagara Falls, continue to drive tourism dollars to Genesee County, members of the County's Ways and Means Committee were told Wednesday.

Tom Turnbull, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director, provided the committee with an annual review of tourism activity.

For 2018, bed tax revenue was up 10 percent. It was up 15 percent in the second quarter, which is the quarter that sports teams from throughout the region travel here for softball and soccer tournaments. 

Hotel rooms during that period, especially on weekends, tend to be sold out.

The bed tax was revenue was $498,000 in 2018. 

Total related revenue flowing into the county was about $176 million.

The tourism department also sold out of its annual local golf packages. The packages brought in 600 golfers to the county over the course of the season.

Niagara Falls continues to be an attractive destination for Chinese tourists and their tourist buses during the summer have become a frequent sight in Batavia. The tour companies have figured out that Batavia is both close to Niagara Falls and hotel rooms are less expensive than those in Niagara County, Rapone said.

Tourism representatives attended 39 trade and consumer shows last year where they promote Genesee County as a tourism destination, including an annual golf show in Toronto, Canada, which is proven fruitful in promoting golf packages.

There are also more interest groups coming to Genesee County, Rapone said, such as a writers' group in 2018, and more car clubs.

Car clubs are an interesting niche the county might be able to attract, Rapone said, because of the restoration project locally of the Thomas Rocket Car. She is working on arranging tours at Dick McClurg's shop on West Main Street.

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