July 1, 2010

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Tourism down in the region last year, but showing signs of improvement

HUDSON VALLEY/CATSKILLS – Tourist spending was down over 13 percent in the Hudson Valley region while it fell by eight percent in the Catskill region in 2009, according to economic studies conducted for New York State by a consulting firm.

Despite that, area tourism directors see a brighter picture in the first part of 2010.

The Catskills region, as defined for tourism purposes, includes the counties of Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster. Ulster Tourism Director Rick Remsnyder notes positive signs so far this year.

“In 2010 we saw that the bed tax was up 10.3 percent in the first two quarters,” he said. “Our occupancy rate is up 13 percent, so looking ahead, pretty optimistic the direction we’re going in 2010.”

The Hudson Valley as defined for tourism purposes includes the counties of Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester.

Orange County Tourism Director Susan Cayea said that region is also seeing positive signs in 2010 and she expects more tourists this year.

“Disposable income many times will go to travel and if there’s an increase in interest, there has to be an increase in travel. So we’re expecting more tourists this year in 2010,” she said.

Columbia County Planning Director Kenneth Flood said a large portion of the jobs in his county are in the tourism industry.

“Almost 6½ percent of the people employed in Columbia County are employed by a business that is in some way related to tourism, which as a percentage is much higher than any of the other counties in the Hudson Valley.”

Tourism in the Hudson Valley is a $2.7 billion industry supporting over 48,000 jobs. In the Catskills region, tourism is a $946 million industry supporting almost 17,000 jobs.


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