York County will catch some of the overflow from millions of visitors to Adams County for the 150th anniversaries of the Battle of Gettysburg and the delivery of the Gettysburg Address.

The Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau recently announced it expects the events to bring more than 4 million people to Adams County in 2013, a million more than an average tourism year, and generate $750 million in visitor spending.

The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau is still developing estimates for York's expected number of visitors and their economic impact.

But spokeswoman Allison Freeman said hotels along the county's western border with Adams are booked for dates that coincide with the peak of summer tourism in Gettysburg.

The most visitors are expected from June 28 through July 7, for re-enactments, living history encampments and other events.

Gettysburg will commemorate the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, an event to which President Barack Obama has been invited.

The events are expected to have a regional economic impact for surrounding Pennsylvania counties and northern Maryland, according to the Gettysburg CVB.

'Big event': The spillover into York is expected to generate the same amount of impact as "one of the bigger events" held in York County in 2013, Freeman said.

A "big event," such as a large sporting tournament, can draw more than 1,000 people and generate between $300,000 and $1 million, she said.


While Freeman said hotels around Hanover are filled, bookings have spread as far as the Yorktowne Hotel in downtown York.

Manager Rick Cunningham said the historic hotel still has rooms, but he declined for competitive reasons to characterize the level of business the hotel will see during the July and November events.

"We're pleased with what it's going to do for business, and for the whole community," he said.

Dan Johnson, manager of the Holiday Inn Holidome in West Manchester Township, said his hotel is nearly booked for July 4.

Gettysburg is sold out, which pushed people to Hanover and swamped hotels there, he said. Visitors have continued to move east toward York, Johnson said.

He expects more business as the events grow near, because while the "hardcore re-enactors" and history buffs have already booked rooms, families and more casual visitors are more last-minute, he said.

News people: Freeman said Gettysburg tourism officials have also asked York to host news media for the event. She's not sure how many reporters are coming, "but numerous outlets are covering it, and they're the big-name people, the Newsweeks of the world," she said.

Freeman said York-area attractions and businesses have been preparing for the influx by organizing special events to highlight York's history and its proximity to Gettysburg.

Steam Into History, a steam locomotive attraction highlighting the York County railroad on which Lincoln twice rode, will open June 1, she said.

Re-enactors will stage the burning of the bridge over the Susquehanna in Wrightsville, which will also host other events. The York County Heritage Trust will hold special events focusing on York's Civil War experience, Freeman said.

"It's a yearlong event for a lot of places," she said. "We're constantly marketing the Civil War heritage."

-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.