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Employment associated with tourism by region 2012. Graph: Tourism Economics
Employment associated with tourism by region 2012. Graph: Tourism Economics

What tourism numbers say about upstate

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Tourism spending rose across every region of New York state last year, with overall growth of more than six percent according to new research.

Traveler spending reached a new high of nearly $60 billion statewide, and upstate New York saw some of the action.

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Reported by

Kate O'Connell
Reporter, The Innovation Trail

The biggest areas for growth upstate were central New York, Niagara, and the Thousand Islands, with a bump of at least five percent in each region.

But, according to Adam Sacks, lead author of the report and president of Tourism Economics, the real indicator of the industry’s importance lies in job growth.

“In some ways employment is the most salient indicator of how important tourism is, particularly in parts where unemployment is relatively high. Tourism is generating significant numbers of jobs, we’re talking about 40,000 jobs in the Finger Lakes region that are dependent on tourism.”

The report shows that the Adirondacks and Catskills are the most reliant on the industry, with 18 and 15 percent of employment sustained by tourism in each area respectively.

Sacks says the upstate region is surprisingly reliant on tourism driven by the presence of seasonal second homes.

He says it’s harder to track, but there’s definitely a large amount of economic activity created by home owners who migrate upstate for skiing, hiking, and other vacation attractions driven by the seasons.

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