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Oswego County attracted a record $146 million in visitor spending last year

By Eric Reinhardt


The H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego is a venue that Oswego County says draws “thousands” of visitors annually. A tourism study that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania–based Tourism Economic conducted found that tourism spending in Oswego County during 2016 totaled more than $146 million, a record high. (Photo credit: David Owens, Oswego County Tourism Office.)

OSWEGO, N.Y. — Visitors to Oswego County spent a record of more than $146 million in 2016, up nearly 7 percent from the $136 million that visitors spent in 2015, the Oswego County government announced

The data is included in the 2016 “Economic Impact Study of Tourism in New York,” a study that Tourism Economics conducts. Tourism Economics is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania–based travel-data firm.

Empire State Development hired the organization to study the economic impact of visitor spending across all counties in New York.

“From 2015 [to 2016], visitor spending in Oswego County increased 6.8 percent to $146,013,000, with tourism employment growing 8.5 percent,” Oswego County Legislator Roy Reehil said in the county’s news release. “That shows that the county is doing a great job in support and promotion of our tourism industry and that the sector can be a growth industry in the future. With nearly 10 percent of all Oswego County employment generated by visitors currently, my hope is that those numbers will grow and the sector can provide new business and employment opportunities for many years to come.”

Reehil serves as the chairman of the county legislature’s economic development and planning committee.

Oswego County’s tourist attractions include fishing that draws anglers from every state and more than 20 different nations, events like Harborfest and Super DIRT Week, historic landmarks such as Fort Ontario, and recreational activities like paddling and multi-use trails.

In the county, “nearly all” segments of traveler spending increased during 2016. Food and beverage spending continues to be the largest segment, rising 9 percent to $46.3 million, spending on second homes was up 5.9 percent to $31.7 million, retail and service stations increased 5.4 percent to $21.4 million, lodging rose 11.6 percent to $16.3 million, and recreation was up 7.8 percent to nearly $12.3 million, according to the report.

Transportation services, including bus, taxi, rental cars, and airport fuel and landing fees, showed a slight decrease across the Thousand Islands – Seaway Region. It also fell 0.2 percent to just under $18 million in Oswego County.

Jobs, wages, taxes

The study also found that the tourism industry supported 3,153 direct and in-direct jobs in Oswego County in 2016, up 8.5 percent from a year ago. The jobs generated $63.4 million in wages across the county.

Visitors to Oswego County generated $8.8 million in local tax revenue and $8.1 million in state tax revenue in 2016.

The study estimated that state and local taxes generated by visitors represent a savings of $372 to the average Oswego County household.


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