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Manlius woman now chairs Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council

Carol Eaton of Fremont Village is New York state’s 2014 Outstanding Tourism Executive of the Year.

Carol Eaton of Fremont Village is New York state’s 2014 Outstanding Tourism Executive of the Year. Submitted photo

— For more than 30 years, Carol Eaton has sung the praises of Central New York, inviting travelers from near and far to visit the Syracuse area.

Now the vice president of marketing for the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau, Eaton broadened her horizons last year when she helped establish the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council.

“That was really a milestone,” Eaton said. We brought together representatives from 14 counties in the Finger Lakes vacation region.” Eaton currently serves as New York State’s Regional Tourism Project Director for the Finger Lakes Tourism Region and chairs its new tourism council.

More recently, the Visitors Bureau began celebrating Central New York’s formidible winter weather.

“We embrace our four seasons,” Eaton said, pointing to the bureau’s new program,

Snow on Syracuse, which asks Twitter users to share their favorite outdoor images at SnowOnSYR.com with the hashtag #SnowOnSYR.

Eaton’s positive-thinking, hard work and enthusiasm earned her the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association’s 2014 Outstanding Tourism Executive of the Year award. Eaton will be recognized at the association’s 2014 Stars of the Industry Gala & Awards Banquet at the Albany Marriott on Monday, March 3.

The award recognizes an executive who has demonstrated outstanding contributions of leadership and service to her community. “I’m flattered to be recognized,” she said, “but, you know, you’re only as good as the team behind you.”

A Le Moyne College graduate, Eaton has worked for the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau since 1983. A Tourism Economic study indicates that local tourism grew 6.2 percent in 2012, after an 8.3 percent leap in 2011.

“Our overall product is growing and evolving and changing in such a positive way,” said Eaton, who lives in Fremont Village in the town of Manlius with her husband, Andrew, and three children, Sam, Carly and Nick.

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