Researchers say Americade yields $46 million yearly for area

LAKE GEORGE A study by state university researchers has concluded that Americade has a regional economic impact annually of about $46 million substantially greater than long-standing estimates of local officials, and exceeding figures even Americade owner/promoter Bill Dutcher has quoted. Considered the largest touring motorcycle rally in the world, the event fills the streets of Lake George Village and the county byways with motorcyclists for a week or more each June. Results of the study, conducted by the Technical Assistance Center of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, were released this last week by Dutcher. Prior estimates of Americades impact by area tourism officials, media representatives and local politicians have ranged from $20 million to $40 million, with Dutchers tally near the higher amount. The event, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, is considered the kingpin in Lake Georges calendar, providing far more income for area businesses and workforce than any other event. The study, conducted by SUNY economics and tourism, concluded that over the past four years, Americade attendance has ranged from 50,000 to 60,000 annually. Tuesday, Dutcher said he was pleased with the study results, adding that he intends to share the figures soon with county officials several of whom have sought to cut the $50,000 of occupancy tax funds that are annually earmarked to help him promote the event. Its nice to see the huge economic impact of Americade verified by a scientifically based study, he said. The study was based on data gleaned from 784 surveys returned out of 1,000 distributed to Americade attendees -- which the researchers deemed an excellent response rate. The data was tabulated and evaluated by computer-assisted analysis. Seventy-five percent of survey respondents said theyd attended two years or more, some past 20 years. This identifies a high repeat level that this event successfully generates, the study concluded. The average income of participant was $81,950, with over 70 percent of Americade participants attending college. The average age for Americaders is 52.7 years, and the average stay in Lake George is 6.3 nights. Sixty-eight percent of the attendees stay in Lake George or in the immediate vicinity. Seventy-three percent of respondents said they stayed the same amount of time or longer in 2007, with only 4 percent reporting they cut their visit shorter in 2007. Twenty-two percent said they were attending Americade for the first time. The study also concluded that Americade attendees are likely to return to Lake George for additional visits, based on a positive initial experience. Fifty-two percent of survey respondents said they had returned or were likely to return to Lake George with their family and friends. The economic impact of these additional visits was not included in the study. The research also indicated Americaders spend nearly $157 per day at the event, for overnighters, and $98 per day for day visitors. Dutcher said he thought the study, however, might be conservative in its multiplier used to account for the average number of times out-of-area money changes hands, and this might boost that $46 million figure substantially. The study is using a 1.2-times multiplier, when other tourism studies elsewhere use multipliers up to 6 or 7 times the direct income. But even using the studys figures, he said, Americade has pumped about $750 million into the countys economy. Americade is scheduled for June 2 though June 7 this year.

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