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By Michael Printup

From pristine lakes and gorgeous waterfalls to historic sports venues and some of the country’s greatest wines, every day serves as a constant reminder of why New York’s Finger Lakes are a premier destination for tourism in the United States. Year round the region offers family-friendly events for everyone from the wine enthusiast to the high-octane racing fan.

The Empire State has been privileged to host some of the world’s biggest events at world-class venues. From Broadway to Yankee Stadium and beyond, these venues have become synonymous in the minds of tourists with the best in entertainment. Every year fans from around the world flock to sell out games and shows, which in turn helps drive revenue to communities across the state.

Annually it is estimated that the Glen has a total economic impact of more than $204 million, including $40 million in federal, state and local taxes. Over the past 10 years the Glen has provided jobs to more than 2,057 local residents. During the highly anticipated NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend in August, more than 100,000 people stay in local hotels and eat at local restaurants. That is just one of the many events hosted at Watkins Glen International, where more than 20,000 attendees have also come to enjoy the largest wine festival on the East Coast, last year’s Inaugural Glentoberfest and concerts on the Red Cat Summer Stage.

This story is not unique to the Glen. In fact, motor sports are a substantial contributor to the overall U.S. economy with an annual economic impact of $37 billion, including $2 billion generated in annual taxes. The industry provides jobs to nearly 300,000 people – equivalent to the population of St. Louis – and unlike stick-and-ball facilities, motor sport facilities tend not to be publicly financed. Instead, these facilities are typically financed privately with capital investment projects averaging between $120 million and $150 million annually.

Instead of changing course now, we must keep our eyes on the road that has led us here.

Michael Printup is president of Watkins Glen International.