Transforming Geneva welcome center into major travel hub

Transforming the Geneva welcome center into a major travel hub for the Finger Lakes Region.

Geneva, N.Y. - The new Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva will show off what the region has to offer: From food to wine and even an outdoor children's play area.

It's part of a $10 million project, whose goal is to grow businesses through tourism.

Sunday, residents told 13WHAM's Samantha Miles what they'd like to see change with the planned expansion.

“I would like to just see more people enjoying it. People here know how beautiful it is and we want to share it,” Visitor Center volunteer Dodie Tipton said.

Volunteers at the Visitor Center say the area is a hidden gem with potential to boost business for the entire Finger Lakes region.

“When you come to the Finger Lakes, you're in a sense visiting them all,” volunteer Valerie Sewell explained. “So many of our businesses here are enhanced by having a robust tourist trade.”

Many locals say they can't wait to see their favorite spot get some upgrades.

“I think it's been a long time coming. It's definitely improved the City of Geneva,” visitor Pam Chilburt said.

“We have people coming from Syracuse and Rochester,” Brian Vanderslice, a wind surfer said. “And we meet in the middle here because this is such a great spot for a south wind.”

Volunteers say it's also going to make people more proud to call Geneva home.

“I think it does a lot to get people to recognize what a wonderful place they're living,” Sewell added.

The state has partnered with the New York Wine and Culinary Center and the Strong Museum of Play for the design.

It will be open to visitors next spring.

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