ROOST releases tourism findings

— People who come to Essex County do so for the outdoors activities, especially hiking.

That is what the 2012 Leisure Travel Study, conducted by the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST), found after collecting data from over 4,000 returned surveys.

“In the past year, we had 101,998 new contacts through market, websites or other means that were the trackable leads,” ROOST Director Jim McKenna told members of the Essex County Economic Development Committee June 10. “We sent out surveys to over 30,000 people and we received over 4,000 responses, which is very high.”

McKenna said that the study showed marketing efforts to the county were working, as tourists spent $82 for every occupancy tax dollar spent on marketing.

“The average spent by each party that came to the county was $328,” he said. “That also meant that for every dollar that we spent in occupancy tax revenue on marketing, the county received $3.80 in revenue.”

Other key indicators the study found included:

•The average stay reported by 2011 visitors was 4.9 nights. This represents a substantial increase from the 2011 average reported visit duration of 2.8 nights. This figure is also higher than the five year average of 4.0 nights.

•The average age of respondents was 51 years old, and this is consistent with data on average from the last five years.

•One half of visitor respondents reported living in New York state, which was slightly lower than demonstrated from 2011 (53 percent). Visitation from all other regions was consistent from the prior year.

•Outdoor activities have not only remained at the top of the list of activities that attracted visitors to the region, they have steadily grown in popularity as a draw. Hiking was the most popular reported outdoor activity, followed by canoeing/kayaking. Outdoor activities were followed by relaxing, dining and shopping and sightseeing.

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