Tourism and outdoor recreation have always been a major facet of the Upstate New York economy, and a new study suggests there’s an untapped potential for growth among Latino residents and tourists. This August, the National Shooting Sports Foundation released findings from a new Hispanic market study. Although the study specifically focused on firearms and sports shooting among Hispanic Americans, it also confirmed what many already know to be true — that Latino Americans are camping in greater numbers than ever before.
In fact, 72% of the respondents in the study said they had enjoyed outdoor recreation activities like camping, boating, hiking, and fishing in the past year. Furthermore, 18% owned a firearm and 25% said they hoped to own a firearm in the future. And as any Upstate New Yorker can tell you, the region has bountiful fishing, hiking, and hunting opportunities.
Nationwide, U.S. outdoors enthusiasts spend an average of 534.9 million days camping each year. To attract more of those visitors to Upstate New York, the state government has held additional events this summer like professional fishing tournaments. And already this year, many Upstate counties have experienced an uptick in camping and tourism visits after a slow start to the summer season.
According to an editorial in the Watertown Daily Times, “May and June were colder and wetter, which dampened tourist activity. But hotels, campgrounds and businesses offering fishing excursions have seen an increase since the beginning of July.”
Although some camping sites have seen increased activity in July compared to the year before, other Upstate businesses that depend on camping dollars have struggled to offset losses from May and June. And that means attracting new visitors will become increasingly important as the outdoor season winds down.
The market study suggests that outdoor recreation businesses could do more to attract Latino tourism, specifically noting that 70% of Latino households are bilingual. And with a total buying power of more than $825 billion (going on $1 trillion), it’s a market that’s gotten too big for Upstate businesses to ignore.