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Tourism spending in Oneida County neared $3 billion in 2021

The Oneida Indian Nation on Tuesday announced a multi-year expansion project at its Turning Stone Resort Casino that will add an additional hotel, new dining options, and several other new amenities. The organization expects to break ground in 2023. (Image credit: Oneida Indian Nation)

UTICA, N.Y. — Visitor spending in Oneida County totaled $2.7 billion in 2021, up 164 percent from traveler spending levels in 2019 before the pandemic, according to a recent study released by Empire State Development and New York’s I Love NY Division of Travel & Tourism.

“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,” Oneida County Tourism President Kelly Blazosky said in a press release. “This study validates tourism as a vital part of the economy of Oneida County and the Central New York Region.”

Visitor spending across the region covering Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie, Broome, Chenango, Herkimer, Madison, and Montgomery counties totaled $3.7 billion. Oneida County represented 74 percent of that total and helped support 33,630 jobs. Spending increased 80 percent over 2020 and 142 percent from 2019 pre-pandemic levels.


The data in this release comes from the Economic Impact Study of Tourism in New York for 2021 conducted by Tourism Economics.

“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,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said. “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.”

Blazosky concurred that projects such as the Nexus Center for sports tourism and the recently announced expansion project by the Oneida Indian Nation at its Turning Stone Resort Casino ensure that travel and tourism will continue to play a vital role in the county.

“Year-round and seasonal outdoor adventure experiences, quality attractions and events, combined with our ideal location and great value continue to establish Oneida County as an excellent getaway destination,” she said.

Visitor spending supported 19,939 people employed directly, indirectly, or induced in travel and tourism jobs in Oneida County and generated $1.2 billion in household wages, according to the report. Tourism sustains 22.7 percent of all employment in the county.

Tourism-generated spending in Oneida County contributed $134.3 million to the state coffers while local tax revenues totaled $123.7 million. That resulted in tax savings per household of $2,846 for county residents in 2021.

Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company of Oxford, United Kingdom, with U.S. offices in Wayne, Pennsylvania, conducted the study. The organization studied several sectors of the tourism industry including lodging, recreation, food and beverage, retail and service stations, transportation, and second homes.

In Oneida County, all industry sectors remained steady or saw a slight increase in visitor spending. Each industry saw the following spending amounts: lodging, $1.2 billion; recreation, $645 million; food and beverage, $365 million; retail and service, $460 million; transportation, $42 million; and second homes, $31 million.


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