Confederate troops battle Union troops during a 150th Anniversary National Civil War Battle re-enactment at Redding Farm outside Gettysburg in 2013.
Confederate troops battle Union troops during a 150th Anniversary National Civil War Battle re-enactment at Redding Farm outside Gettysburg in 2013. (YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO)

A pair of historic anniversaries that left no vacancies at local hotels and few empty seats at area restaurants delivered a 12 percent boost to Adams County's tourism industry.

Nearly 4 million people visited Adams County last year, thanks to the 150th anniversaries of the Battle of Gettysburg in July and President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November.

The number of people visiting Gettysburg has grown every year since 2010, but the biggest increase was logged last year, when the number climbed from 3.4 million visitors in 2012 to 3.78 million visitors in 2013, a 12 percent jump.

"Our business was up all year long," said Norris Flowers, president of Destination Gettysburg, formerly the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau.

And that was a benefit to neighboring counties, he said.

"During the 10-day period in July, we know visitors were filling hotels in a 60-mile radius. We know the region benefited," Flowers said.

York County tourism figures won't be available until later this year. But the local industry grew in 2012, and the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau is expecting strong numbers for 2013.

"We do see spillover from our neighbors," said Anne Druck, president of the bureau.

More tourists are choosing York as a destination, and the county hosted several big events last year, but the area also got a boost from the 150th anniversaries, she said.

In fact, some Battle of Gettysburg events were hosted in Hanover and other parts of York County.


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From June 28 through July 7, more than 400 events were held throughout York and Adams counties to mark the anniversaries.

"We know our hotels and restaurants were full. If people were staying here and eating here, they were likely shopping here too," Druck said.

The Fourth of July was also a boost.

"With the Fourth falling on a Thursday, more people visited the county both the weekend before the Fourth and the weekend after the Fourth," she said.

It's common for big events in one county to spur growth in surrounding counties, Druck said.

"And with the big sports tournaments we host here, we give them some spillover as well," she said.

— Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.