A Record Number of Tourists Visited Central New York This Year
Great news for Central New York's tourism industry. The area welcomed the highest amount of out-of-staters in history!
The news was shared by The Genesis Group, who happily announced that Oneida County did "exceptionally well" with tourism and was one of the most popular destinations.
That shouldn't be too much of a surprise considering all the activities one can find here.
There's plenty of family-friendly events to take advantage of, such as the Utica Zoo, Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, the Adirondack Railroad, and the Munson.
The area also offers a rich collection of antique stores, nature parks, trails, skiing, breweries, restaurants, and more.
With so much to do here, it shouldn't come as a shock that Oneida County was one of the most popular tourist destinations last year.
The great news here is that boost in tourism led to more jobs and raised significant revenue. Here's how tourism impacted Oneida County.
Over $1 Billion in revenue for Central NY
Central New York was a destination hotspot for tourists over the past year, beating out the previous record set in 2019.
The Genesis Group used data from Governor Kathy Hochul's Economic Impact of Visitors 2022 Report.
The data found 291.5 million visitors came to New York last year. This is the largest number of tourists in state history.
Not only that, the visitors generated over "$78.6 billion in direct spending and $123 billion in total economic impact."
Boiling down the numbers on the local level, Central NY greatly benefited from tourism in 2022. Here's what The Genesis Group found
- Oneida County represents 75% of the region’s tourism sales, with $3.5 billion in direct tourism spending.
- Relative to 2019, traveler spending was up 30% in Oneida County at 214% of 2019 levels – the highest of any county in the state.
- Tourism in the CNY Region generated $1.2 billion in direct labor income and $1.9 billion including indirect and induced impacts.
- Total labor income including indirect and induced impacts was the most significant in Oneida County at $1.4 billion.
- Oneida County produced the most tourism-related jobs in the CNY region (37,030 jobs).
- Tourism in CNY generated $482 million in state and local taxes in 2022. Sales, property, and hotel bed taxes contributed $229 million in local taxes. Oneida County constituted 71.3% of the region’s tourism tax base.
- Were it not for tourism-generated state and local taxes, the average household in Oneida County would have to pay an additional $1,637 to maintain the same level of government revenue, already hard hit by the pandemic.
It should be noted that the numbers reflect the foot traffic that crossed through just Oneida County.
What Community Leaders Are Saying
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. celebrated the good fortune in a public statement:
Oneida County is a major tourism destination, and more visitors are flocking here than ever before. Thanks to draws like the Turning Stone Resort Casino, the Adirondack Bank Center and host of outdoor recreation and multi-ethnic dining options, we accounted for the vast majority of Central New York’s tourism sales last year and our traveler spending saw the largest increase in the state. With the Utica University Nexus Center now welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors from all across North America, those numbers will skyrocket even further. We can’t wait to welcome them all and show off what we have to offer.
The sentiment was reflected by Sara Foster Calero, who is the President of Oneida County Tourism.
She said this proves Central New York is becoming a destination for travelers because the region is offering rich experiences, culture and events.
Additionally, Foster says Oneida County is home to some of the nation's most unique places that offer year-round outdoor adventures."
Additionally, the Utica University Nexus Center is allowing us to delve into sports tourism, and the events taking place there have a tremendous economic impact on Oneida County. Families come for a tournament, and in turn spend money at our great local restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses while exploring all we have to offer.
In all, local and political leaders view the news as proof that New York is emerging from the pandemic and is on the way to recovery.
With 291 million visitors coming into the state, officials say this is creating the groundwork to create even more jobs, businesses and opportunities in New York.
Not only that, political leaders pointed out that the numbers showed that the state has bounced back very strongly from the effects of COVID-19, which had ground the economy to a halt.
The Genesis Group closed with a collective statement, which said:
This is a good news story. There are many industries that contribute to the local economy, Tourism is near the top of the list. We believe our region has become a year-round tourism destination. There are many reasons for people to visit here. This weekend for example, offers a plethora of events and things to do across the entire region. We encourage you to spend some quality time for yourself - no matter the weather - and enjoy the good life here in the Mohawk Valley!
Where is your favorite place to visit in Central New York?
Scroll through to see some of mine!
As a cider donut connoisseur, this place has some of the best donuts I have EVER tasted!
The Utica Zoo is my happy place.
The Munson has such an incredible collection!
The library always makes me feel like I stepped into a fantasy world.
I love getting my fresh fruits and veggies here!
Who can't forget that incredible rooftop bar? This place serves the best cocktails that makes you feel extra fancy.