New data shows that the Catskills, especially the Sullivan Catskills are experiencing a substantial year over year increase in visitor numbers and new job growth. More progress is expected in 2020-2021.
In 2018, travelers spent $1.5 billion in the Catskill Region with $515 million of this expended in the Sullivan Catskills, a 14.5% increase over 2017. The county’s spending growth exceeds the other 3 counties in the Catskill Region with Ulster at 11%, Greene 8.4%, and Delaware at 4.5% and is the highest growth in New York State.
As new tourism developments emerge, the Sullivan Catskills job opportunities are expanding exponentially—with 18% of the workforce reliant on the tourism industry and unemployment at a 40-year all-time low, with unemployment at 3.2%. March of 2019 shows there was a 131% increase in leisure and hospitality jobs from 2016 to over 7,400 direct tourism jobs in 2019.
“Were it not for tourism-generated state and local taxes, the average household in Sullivan County would have to pay an additional $2,238 annually to maintain the same level of government services, this is an additional savings of $316 from 2017, states Roberta Byron-Lockwood, President & CEO of the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association.
The 2019 tourism statistics continue the consistent upward momentum and record-breaking trends with incoming tourism and investment to the Sullivan Catskills. Much of this growth is due to the new and exciting things happening in our county and the proximity of where we are that sets us apart as one of the fastest-growing and desired destinations in the world to visit.
- The opening of the Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark, opened in the Spring of 2019—adding to our suite of 4-5 star distinctive luxury resorts.
- New developments underway including The Eldred Preserve, Foster Supply Hospitality and The Chatwal Lodge at the Chapin Estate expected to open 2020-2021.
- The 50th anniversary of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and Museum celebrated this momentous golden anniversary with year-long events and programs.
- Growth of our farm to table experiences providing unprecedented Michelin quality dining.
- Revitalized main streets that have artistic charm amid our breathtaking backdrops of majestic mountains and valleys.
- Passionate residents who are building community pride and preserving our landscapes.
- We are only 90 minutes from the World’s gateway—NYC and four international and domestic airports.
- Our famous Dove Trail, adding to our communities’ character and sense of place and pride. Many Dove Trail enthusiasts have revisited the Sullivan Catskills up to 7 times, just to finish the trail. Several member businesses experienced up to a 50% increase in sales and visitors claiming that this summer was their most profitable season in decades.
Byron-Lockwood further states “With all of this and the new proposed marketing initiatives for 2020 and the Sullivan Catskills brand projected throughout the world as an authentic visitor experience will lead new visitors to our doorsteps while bringing new wealth and investment into our Sullivan Catskills. As a result, our visitor spending numbers will shatter previous years’ numbers.”