A record number of tourists came to New York State last year, pumping more than $78.6 billion of direct spending into the local economy.
The 291.5 million tourists who visited the Empire State also generated roughly $123 billion in financial impact for the economy in 2022, according to reports issued by Tourism Economics on Wednesday.
“In the three years since the pandemic ground tourism to a halt, we have made transformative investments to uplift businesses, support workers in tourism and hospitality, and build a stronger, more welcoming New York,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said.
Last year, the statewide economic impact of tourism reached a record high, up 4% from the $117.6 billion seen in 2019. Direct visitor spending was also up, rising 7% from $73.6 billion in 2019.
The state also saw a 10% bump in visitation last year compared to the 266.7 million tourists who came to the state in 2019.
The year-over-year increases from 2021 to 2022 were impressive, a 22% gain in visits, an over 50% rise in spending, and a more than 43% jump in economic impact.
Additionally, the average household in the state saved $1,300 in taxes due to tax revenues generated by tourism, Hochul said.
“Tourism continues to be an important driver behind our state’s economy,” she said. “My administration is committed to boosting the industry to make sure that visitors from around the world can see all that New York has to offer.”
State officials agreed.
“This growth does more than bolster our state’s economy — it plays a substantial role in creating jobs, boosting revenue for local businesses and fostering local infrastructure developments across the state,” said state Rep. Daniel O’Donnell, chair of the Assembly Tourism Committee.
“It is indeed a testament to the unyielding spirit of New York, a state that ceaselessly attracts and enthralls millions worldwide,” he said.
New York City was the largest tourism region last year, seeing 60% of state-wide spending and had the largest increase in visitor spending in the state.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Hochul in 2021 launched the “Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs” recovery package. It made a $450 million investment to support travel industry workers, small business programs and aimed to bring new and unique events to the state.
The governor also backed I LOVE NY marketing efforts to encourage travel throughout the state and awarded millions of dollars in direct support to tourism organizations and venues for tourism-related marketing efforts and capital projects.
“Now, from bustling New York City to the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains, visitors are confirming what we’ve known all along — New York is the place to be,” Hochul said.
New York issuers sold $18 billion of municipal bonds in 184 sales in the first half of this year, although this was down 33% from the $26.9 billion in 286 deals sold in the first half of 2022. The drop may reflect a return to baseline after the exceptionally prolific year New York issuers displayed in 2022, when the state led the U.S. in municipal bond issuance.
The state passed its budget about a month late, as the governor and legislature came to agreement on the $229 billion fiscal 2024 plan in early May. The state’s fiscal year begins April 1.
The state’s general obligation bonds are rated Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-plus by S&P Global Ratings, Fitch Ratings and Kroll Bond Rating Agency.