TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Tourism revenue in Westchester County is back to pre-recession levels, County Executive Robert Astorino said Wednesday.
Tourists added about $1.7 billion to the county's economy in 2011, which was an eight percent increase from 2010, Astorino said. That amounts to 24,000 jobs, or about six percent of the county's total workforce.
“People are putting money and spending money in this county on leisure and tourism,” Astorino said.
Numbers compiled by the county show that tourism hit its lowest point in several years in 2009 with $1.39 billion, down from the nearly $1.7 billion earned in 2007 before the recession. Astorino and others noted spending has significantly increased since then. Tourists spent $127 million more in 2011 than 2010.
The announcement came while Astorino and other county officials gathered at the Lyndhurst estate in Tarrytown to promote a new advertising campaign seeking to position Westchester as a vacation destination. Westchester, they say, needs to increase its brand awareness and get people to visit the county again and again.
“Summer is a pop time for tourism in WC so it's very appropriate that we unveil today's campaign in the heat and the official start of summer,” Tourism Director Natasha Caputo said.
The “Meet Me in Westchester” campaign will be featured in print, radio and television advertising. The county is paying for the $300,000 campaign through revenue from the hotel-occupancy tax.
Astorino and Caputo said the county will be targeting couples in their 30s and older because a tourism survey found that is the demographic most likely to visit. The survey also found the county is popular for business meetings.