Finger Lakes Visitors Connection: Touting tourism for 35 years

A $47,000 “experiment” launched in 1984 by county officials has paid off in spades, fueling the local economy and drawing millions of visitors to the heart of the Finger Lakes.

Finger Lakes Visitors Connection President Valerie Knoblauch said the 35-year-old county-driven initiative was birthed and funded for six months “just to see if it would work or not.”

Apparently it did.

On Monday, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection celebrated its 35th anniversary and 2019 Tourism Legacy Awards at the New York Beer Project in Victor. The event marked literally millions of tourists and decades of success touting the beauty and bounty of the 9,000-square-mile Finger Lakes region, its 11 pristine lakes, 130 wineries, four vibrant seasons, and endless opportunities for hiking, skiing, boating, wine tasting, shopping, golfing and sightseeing.

An all-star cast of tourism champions were honored in NYBP’s second-floor banquet room for making significant contributions, demonstrating marketing or service excellence, or developing outstanding products for the local tourism industry.

More than 130 individuals, businesses and organizations have been honored since 1993, said Knoblauch, and for good reason. Since from day one it’s been “all about the people,” she said.

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