York County is likely to see some tourism money as Gettysburg overflows during a five-year celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the Civil War battle fought there.

Gettysburg is kicking off its celebration on April 30, and will host numerous events featuring re-enactors and living history programs through the next five years.

Organizers are expecting the annual average visitor count to increase by 25 percent, from 3 million to 4 million people, said Alison Smolinski, spokeswoman for the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"There definitely are not enough hotel rooms in Adams County to accommodate," she said. "We'll definitely see some overflow. ... so will Chambersburg, Carlisle, Westminster (Md.), and Harrisburg.

"The region is working together to promote and increase the amount of economic impact we can have."

Sites here: York is going to emphasize its attractions associated with PA Civil War Trails, a tourism program designed to promote the lesser-known sites which played a role in the Civil War.

Stops highlighted in York include the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge -- which Union troops burned in 1863 to slow the advance of Confederate troops across the Susquehanna River -- and Hanover Junction railroad station along the York County Heritage Rail Trail.

During the Civil War, the railroad junction was a telegraph dispatch station that was

occupied by Confederate cavalry and through which wounded soldiers traveled after Gettysburg.


Abraham Lincoln stopped at Hanover Junction on the way to Gettysburg to dedicate the Soldiers National Cemetery, and his funeral train passed through in April 1865.

Visitors who see the war attractions are likely to find something else they like in York, Smolinski said.

"They might see Hanover Junction, right on the rail trail, and decide to stay at the Yorktowne ... and ride the trail, do the factory tours," she said.

Already a factor: York typically sees some extra business from Gettysburg over the busy summer tourism months, she said.

With the crowd expected to grow, the number of York hotels, retailers and restaurants to benefit will likely increase over the next five years, she said.

Smolinski said the CVB has no data to predict the dollar amount or head count for the impact on York.

The typical Gettysburg crowd includes re-enactors and "heritage travelers" who generally stay in York-area campgrounds, she said.

The anniversary celebration is expected to draw more "leisure" travelers, those who are more likely to stray from Gettysburg to seek other activities, she said.

"York is a very attractive headquarters for leisure travelers because of its location, (Interstate) 83 and the (Pennsylvania) Turnpike," she said.

-- Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436, ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com, or follow her on Twitter at @dispatchbizwiz.