February 11 2021

How Much More Did Travelers Spend in the Capital Region before COVID?

Traveler spending in the Capital Region’s tourism industry grew at a slower pace in 2019, but it still outpaced seven of the state’s 10 economic development regions, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of New York State Economic Development Corp. statistics.

In 2019, travelers to the eight-county region spent $3.16 billion. While that represented a 3.6 percent increase over the year, it was the slowest annual growth rate since 2016. At 6.1 percent, Schenectady County led the region in traveler spending growth, but that was down to the 10.5 percent the previous year. Traveler spending slowed the most in Saratoga County, from 9 percent in 2018 to 2.7 percent in 2019. Among the state’s 10 economic development regions, only the Mohawk Valley and Finger Lakes regions had stronger traveler spending growth, at 4.4 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

Traveling spending in the region drove $136.8 million in local taxes, up 2.6 percent from the previous year. The region’s tourism industry also directly supported 36,980 jobs, up 0.1 from the previous year. Schenectady County had the region’s strongest direct job growth, at 3.1 percent.


ValuePenguin last year ranked the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area as the 31st best city for tourism attractions. The eight-county region’s inventory of attractions includes 10 state parks, 36 museums, six ski resorts, three gambling venues, 52 breweries and 37 wineries, cideries and meaderies.

CEG Initiatives

To build on this travel spending momentum and attract more people to the area, CEG is partnering with business and community leaders, to launch a talent attraction website 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.

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