Travel Spending in the Capital Region Jumps 6%
Visitors to the Capital Region spent 6.1 percent, or $175.7 million, more in 2018 than the previous year, bringing their total spending to $3.05 billion. Taking into account state and local taxes, their economic impact in the eight-county region was even greater, totaling $3.42 billion, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of data from Empire State Development.
Traveler spending growth was strongest in Schenectady, Columbia and Saratoga counties, with year-over-year gains of 10.6 percent, 10.4 percent and 9 percent, respectively. At $1 billion, Albany County commanded the greatest share of traveler spending, followed by Warren County at $628.7 million and Saratoga County at $588.8 million.
In the Capital Region, tourism directly supported 36,995 jobs that drove $988.4 million in labor income in 2018. An additional 15,563 jobs were either indirectly support or induced, bringing the industry’s total employment to 52,518 with $1.63 billion in labor income. Thirty percent of those total jobs, or 15,762, were in Albany County. Saratoga had the next greatest number of tourism jobs (11,531), followed by Warren County (9,148)
Traveler Spending Types
Travelers to the region spent the most on food and beverages, totaling $881.2 million, followed by lodging at $744 million and retail and services at $539.3 million. However, the top traveler spending types varied from county to county. Whereas the top spending type in Rensselaer, Saratoga and Warren counties was food and beverage; it was lodging in Warren County; second homes in Columbia, Greene and Washington counties; and transport in Albany County.
To build on this travel spending momentum and attract more people to the area, CEG is involved in the following activities:
Regional Branding Initiative: CEG is partnering with business and community leaders, to launch a regional branding initiative to raise the Capital Region’s profile as a 1-million-strong metro region with distinct competitive advantages, including strategic location, educational assets, cultural vibrancy, innovation, recreational opportunities, affordability and livability.
Industry Attraction: CEG regularly represents the Capital Region’s key technology sectors at industry conferences worldwide. In 2018, CEG attended 25 trade shows and conferences and identified and pursued 93 new project leads
Talent Attraction: To assist local employers recruit talent to the region, CEG’s Talent Connect program assists new hires and their families acclimate to their new home here. Talent Connect also represents local employers at job fairs throughout the Northeast, attending 19 in 2018.
Veteran Connect Center (VCC): CEG launched the VCC to help local employers recruit transitioning service members and veterans worldwide. Through the VCC, employers can access JobPath software, the nation’s leading veteran employment platform for transitioning service members. JobPath helps employers identify workers with military skillsets that meet their needs, and vice-versa.
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