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National Comedy Center draws more than 66,000 visitors in 15 months

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown says it welcomed 66,044 visitors in its first 15 months, delivering a significant economic impact to Western New York.

The museum attracted visitors from all 50 states and 18 countries, with 89% of the visitors coming from outside Chautauqua County.

"We are very pleased with our attendance to date, which is fully on track to deliver the economic impact projected. Better yet, 85% of our visitors report being ‘likely to return’,” said Executive Director Journey Gunderson.

Attendance has continued to grow at the National Comedy Center at a rapid pace, with August, September and October of 2019 showing a 19.7% increase over those same three months in 2018, the center said.

The museum said that on average, each visiting group spent $365 on food, lodging, entertainment and attractions while in the area, according to its recent survey of visitors.

The museum said it has helped Chautauqua County collect record highs for hotel lodging revenue through the first three quarters of 2019 and the City of Jamestown collect record levels of sales tax revenue in the second and third quarters.

Surveys of National Comedy Center visitors indicated that they spent significant dollars while in the area, the museum said. Among those surveyed, 59% of nonresident visitors stayed in the area for two or more days, 38% stayed in a hotel or other lodging, 78% dined in local restaurants, and 35% visited other attractions beyond the National Comedy Center and Lucy Desi Museum.

“The center is a key factor in the robust occupancy and tourism revenue numbers that Chautauqua County has experienced during 2019," said Andrew Nixon, president and CEO of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau. "The National Comedy Center serves as a driver of new visits to the region, as well as a positive new experience for those who have been here before."

The National Comedy Center opened Aug. 1, 2018.

Time magazine recently named it one of its “world’s greatest places,” one of only “100 new and newly noteworthy destinations to experience right now” and one of only nine attractions to visit in the United States. Condé Nast Traveler called the National Comedy Center “one of the best museums in the country,” while People magazine recently named it one of “100 reasons to love America.”

• National Comedy Center wins national designation
• Tim O'Shei gathers reaction from NCC's opening
Roles of Journey Gunderson, Tom Benson in building NCC's prestige

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