Visitors Spend $2.7 Billion in Oneida County in 2021
Sep. 12 2022

Visitors Spend $2.7 Billion in Oneida County in 2021

A recent study released by Empire State Development and the I Love NY Division of Travel & Tourism reports that visitors spending in Oneida County totaled $2.7 Billion dollars in 2021. Oneida County represents 74% of the Central New York Region’s tourism sales. Relative to 2019, traveler spending was up most in Oneida County at 164% of 2019 levels – the highest of any county in the State.

Visitor spending across the Central New York Region totaled $3.7 Billion in 2021, supporting 33,630 jobs. The increase in direct spend of 80% versus 2020 was the fastest across New York State, resulting in the best performance versus pre-pandemic (142% of 2019 levels). The Central New York Vacation Region comprises Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie, Broome, Chenango, Herkimer, Madison, and Montgomery counties.

Visitor spending supported 19,939 people employed direct, indirect and induced in travel and tourism jobs in Oneida County in 2021 and generated $1.2 billion in household wages. Tourism sustains 22.7% of all employment in Oneida County. State tax coffers gained $134.3 million while local tax revenues reached $123.7 million in 2021 from tourism-generated spending in Oneida County. Oneida County residents realized $2,846 in tax savings per household in 2021; an offset generated by visitor spending.  Oneida County contributed 68.5% of the Central New York Vacation Region’s tourism tax base in 2021 which totaled $376.4 million.

“Tourism is essential to the economy of Oneida County and this study shows that we are in an incredibly strong position right now, thanks to visitor spending increasing at a higher rate than anywhere else in the state,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “Our current success is due in large part to our strong partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation and the many investments they have made in our region. The future is even brighter, as we prepare for the boon that the Nexus Center will bring in the fall, and the rest of the development of the U-District that will follow, including the county’s food emporium at the REA Wing of Union Station.”

“We are pleased to see the rebound of the travel industry and significant increase in economic impact generated through visitor spending in Oneida County in 2021,” stated Kelly Blazosky, President of Oneida County Tourism. “This study validates tourism as a vital part of the economy of Oneida County and the Central New York Region. Year-round and seasonal outdoor adventure experiences, quality attractions and events combined with our ideal location and great value continue to establish Oneida County an excellent getaway destination. With growth across multiple industry sectors, especially sports tourism with the opening of Nexus, and expansion projects by the Oneida Indian Nation, the travel and tourism sector will continue to play a vital role in Oneida County’s economic future.”

The Economic Impact Study of Tourism in New York for 2021 was conducted by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company of Oxford, United Kingdom with US offices in Wayne, PA.  Tourism Economics studied several sectors of the tourism industry including lodging, recreation, food & beverage, retail and service stations, transportation, and second homes.

In Oneida County, all industry sectors remained steady or realized a slight increase and generated the following visitor spending in 2021:

  • Lodging $1.2 billion
  • Recreation $645 million
  • Food & Beverage $365 million
  • Retail & Service $460 million
  • Transportation $42 million
  • Second Homes $31 million

The New York visitor economy spans multiple industries. The year 2021 was one of recovery for the visitor economy as direct visitor spending reached $52 billion. This follows severe COVID-related declines in 2020.

Visitor spending expanded 53.4% in 2021, recovering to 71% of 2019 levels reaching $52 billion. Of the $52 billion spent in New York in 2021 by visitors, lodging, including the value of second homes, accounted for $16.4 billion, 32% of the average visitor dollar. Spending on food and beverages resulted in $13.9 billion. Retail, including pending at service stations, captured 18%, a total of $9.5 billion. Transportation, including both air and transportation within the destination, comprised 14%, with recreation spending registering 10% of each visitor dollar.

Economic impact data in this release was taken from the Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2021 report prepared by Tourism Economics an Oxford Economics Company commissioned by Empire State Development. Tourism Economics operates out of regional headquarters in Philadelphia and Oxford, with offices in Belfast, London, Frankfurt, Ontario, and Sydney.