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North needs to look east

The heat is rising and we all know what that means for the North Country — tourists, seasonal residents and outdoor enthusiasts.

Lots of them.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo knows this. He has a soft spot for the North Country and intrinsically understands the magnetic draw of these ancient and mysterious hills.

Over the weekend, he traveled to Watkins Glen to officially kick off the season.

The tourism figures he boasted are impressive: The biz generated direct spending of $59.2 billion in 2013 and produced an estimated $7.5 billion in state and local taxes.

The number of visitors to New York is estimated to have increased by 8.8 million and were projected to finish at 218.8 million visitors by the end of 2013 (the final numbers aren’t in yet). As the fourth largest employment sector in the state, the industry generated more than $17.96 billion in wages.

Not bad. We’d like to augment them with some of our own.

Fact: Mainland Chinese travelers spent $102 billion on international tourism in 2012, 40 percent more than they spent in 2011.

Neat: By 2016, the number of Mainland Chinese tourists visiting the United States is estimated to grow by 232 percent, said the US Department of Commerce.

Wow: China was the sixth-largest spending nationality in the US in 2012, spending $9.2 billion — compared to $7.7 billion in 2011 — making it the fastest growing market for American tourism in 2012.

Impressive: Tourists from the self-described Middle Kingdom outspent leading spenders Germany in 2012, dropping a total of $102 billion on overseas trips (compared to $84 billion by the Germans).

Loaded: Chinese tourists spend about $6,000 per trip to the US, more than visitors from any other country. Because their expenditures are technically exports, the US ran a $4.4 billion surplus in travel and tourism with China in 2011, up from a $687 million deficit in 2006.

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