With last week’s opening of the Hampton Inn on Keuka Lake, the nationally marketed lodging in the village stands at 202 rooms. With each of those rooms occupied this weekend, $88,600 will flow into the county Saturday night, according to Yates Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Linehan, who said, “A lot of that money is staying here.”
Linehan presented tourism industry details to the Yates County Legislature at the group’s regular meeting Monday afternoon. Using data provided by Oxford Economics, Linehan said, “We are going to see our revenues significantly increase this year, and in another year from now after the Hampton Inn has been open for a year. These hotels are all going to succeed,” he said, noting that it wasn’t until 14 years ago that Yates County was included on national chain listings. Now, Penn Yan shows up on world-wide computer listings with the Microtel, Best Western, and Hampton Inn, and that will drive more visitors to the area, he says.
Highlights of the report included:
• Tourism in the Finger Lakes is a $2.9 billion industry, supporting 59,293 jobs.
• Travelers spent a total of $65.8 million in Yates County in 2015. That spending supported 866 jobs and $26.6 million in labor income along with $4.8 million in local taxes and $3.7 million in state taxes.
• Of the $65.8 million, $22.2 million was spent on food and beverage, $19.8 million on vacation rentals, and $12.9 million on lodging. The only counties in the 14 county Finger Lakes region that out-drew Yates’ vacation rental spending were Onondaga with $27.2 million and Steuben with $35.4 million.
• Spending by visitors to Yates County grew by 5.3 percent in 2015 over 2014 and local tax revenues increased by 7 percent.
• 3.3 percent of all labor income in the Finger Lakes is generated by tourism. Of the Finger Lakes counties, Yates County is the most dependent upon tourism with 11.5 percent of all labor income generated by visitors.
• At $886 per household, the tax savings per household in Yates County is the highest of all 14 counties in the Finger Lakes Region. The closest county is Tompkins at $659, and the county with the lowest household savings is Wayne with $129.
Linehan said another study, due in September, will provide a more detailed analysis of visitor demographics.
Later in the meeting, the legislature unanimously approved a resolution to renew the local law establishing the occupancy tax in Yates County, the source of local tax revenues. The law was first passed in 2007 and must be renewed periodically.
Revenues collected through the occupancy tax are split between the county’s general fund and the programs that promote tourism in the county. Local organizations can apply to the county’s Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) for funds to support promotions that will increase overnight visitors, thus generating additional revenue.
The committee will review proposals from agencies, community groups, event planners and others who are involved in marketing initiatives that bring visitors from outside the county. An emphasis will be placed on activities that create overnight visitation.
To participate in the program, call the Chamber 315-536-3111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an information packet, including an instruction sheet and program form.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, Sept. 23.