Information sourced from both a press release and local sources, file photo:
The Village of Perry is set to receive $77,900 in federal funding to support technical assistance in managing the Letchworth Gateway Villages project and to promote tourism in the region.
Letchworth Gateway Villages is a collaborative initiative led by the villages of Perry, Mount Morris and Geneseo. The idea behind the project is to bring about economic growth and tourism-related market opportunities for the areas serving as “gateways” to Letchworth State Park.
“This (funding) is related to Year 2 funding for the Letchworth Gateway Villages program,” said Village of Perry Mayor Rick Hauser. “We spearheaded and administer the program but it’s a partnership between Perry, Mount Morris and Geneseo.”
“One of the key gaps identified by project stakeholders in Year 1 was the absence a destination-focused website that comprehensively links together the Letchworth region’s unique places, attractions and businesses in a compelling and easy to access digital format,” said Nicole Manapol, director at Letchworth Gateway Villages.
“In Year 2, funds will be used to undertake a regional branding process, the tangible result of which will be a destination-focused website that better highlights the region's assets, enhances the visitor experience and seeks to attract new, strategic market segments to the area.”
Tourism represents an important economic driver and growing source of revenue for state and local governments. In New York State tourism is now the fourth largest employer. A little closer to home in the Finger Lakes, tourism brings in $2.9 billion in revenue to local businesses and generates $376 million in state and local taxes.
According to the most recent data, Wyoming County’s tourism impact is up 6.3 percent. This represents $43.8 million in traveler spending over 2015 levels. Additionally, Wyoming County is the second highest in terms of growth in the Greater Niagara region, which it is a part of.
“This federal investment is a win-win for the Village of Perry and neighboring villages,” said U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. “With support from the USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant program, the Village of Perry will be able to promote tourism to the region, enriching the regional economy and supporting local jobs.
"I am proud to announce this federal investment and will continue to fight to make sure that rural communities have the tools and facilities needed to grow and prosper.”
Approximately 700,000 visitors visit Letchworth State Park every year, hailing from places as far away as Australia and China. Yet despite this volume, communities surrounding the Park have not fully tapped this visitor market or fully realized the true economic potential of travel and tourism in the region.
Another core component of what Letchworth Gateway Villages does is to collect data, conduct research and provide analysis to inform decision-making at the municipal and county levels.
A great example of this is the current survey work we're undertaking to better understand what attracts travelers to the region, what improvements are needed to enhance their experience and what is the best way to communicate with them,” Manapol said. “The results will help identify what new tourism related market opportunities there may be for municipalities and the county to pursue that are aligned with our regional strengths.”
The data will also help with building business capacity, attracting investment, and focus marketing efforts for greater impact.
In addition to helping states and localities build a strong tax base, a vibrant travel and tourism industry creates a “virtuous cycle” of economic benefits. A strong tourism base improves the quality of life for local residents and makes a community more attractive to potential employees and businesses, say officials in Schumer’s Office.
“This is an important investment for the Village of Perry,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “These federal funds will help revitalize the community by promoting tourism in the region. I will continue to fight for funding in the Senate that will help boost the local economy and showcase the community for visitors to our area.”
USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. This funding is awarded through the Rural Business Development Grant program, administered by the USDA’s Rural Development agency.
The Agency is committed to improving economies and lives in rural America, through loans, grants and loan guarantees. They support local businesses, individuals and communities by promoting economic development, offering loans and providing technical assistance.
For more information on Letchworth Gateway Villages visit www.letchworthgatewayvillages.org or read its blog Rural Development Solutions.