Building on a record-breaking 2014, Westchester County's tourism industry went even higher in 2015, county officials have noted, with visitor spending increasing by $60 million, to $1.8 billion.
Since 2009, the end of the Great Recession, visitor spending has soared 29 percent -- an increase of over $400 million.
"These numbers show that Westchester County continues to be a leading destination for business and pleasure in the State of New York," said County Executive Robert Astorino. "Year after year, Westchester attracts more visitors, and that's great news for the growth of our economy and county as a whole."
In 2015, visitor spending supported 24,036 jobs in Westchester, 5 percent of all jobs in the county. And tourism has generated $216.9 million in tax revenue for local municipalities and the state. Westchester's tourism industry -- which ranks third in the state behind New York City and Long Island -- represents 53 percent of all visitor spending in the Hudson Valley region.
Natasha Caputo, director of Westchester County Tourism & Film, said the county's success as a tourism destination is the result of great industry partners who offer top-notch accommodations, restaurants and cultural and entertainment attractions.
The county's travel and tourism industry has continued to reinvest, to keep up with the demand. Some of these projects include:
- a $10.5 million renovation of the Westchester Marriott in White Plains;
- a $6 million of Mount Kisco's Holiday Inn;
- a $5.2 million renovation at the Sheraton in Tarrytown;
- a $4 million renovation at the Doral Arrowwood Resort in Rye Brook;
- a multi-million-dollar renovation of White Plains' Westchester Mall; and
- the construction of two new hotels: the Hampton Inn & Suites and the Courtyard by Marriott, both in Yonkers.
Municipalities are also stepping up and enhancing their own tourism products. For example, Peekskill has invested nearly $11 million in parks, museums and trails. The city is has a variety of new restaurants.
Westchester County has also seen significant growth in the agritourism sector. The "Westchester-Grown" Farm Trail is a New York State designated route, spanning 17 miles. It lets visitors to see and taste some of the county's freshest products and builds upon the county’s historic agricultural roots and cultural richness.
Some of the farms and farm stands along the trail include:
- Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard, North Salem
- Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center, Yorktown Heights
- Muscoot Farm, Katonah
- Ryder Farm Cottage Industries, Brewster
- Seedswell Vegetable Farm, Bedford
- Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Tarrytown
- Stuart’s Farm and Orchard, Granite Springs
- The Farmer & The Fish, North Salem
- Thompson's Cider Mill, Croton-On-Hudson
- Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Yorktown Heights