Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the 2018 New York State tourism figures, which established new records for total number of visitors, economic impact and direct spending. The report, conducted by Tourism Economics - an Oxford Economics Company, revealed that tourism spending in Dutchess County increased 6.8% over 2017 to more than $642.2 million. This is the ninth consecutive year spending has increased and marks a 26% increase since 2014.
More than 4.75 million people are estimated to visit the county annually. In addition to spending over half a billion dollars on lodging, dining, shopping, area attractions and transportation, tourism generated $44.7 million in local taxes and $35 million for New York State. According to the report, were it not for tourism-generated state and local taxes, the average household in Dutchess County would have to pay an additional $743 to maintain the same level of government revenue.
Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI), an independent 501c6 non-profit organization, is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County. It is accredited by Destinations International and is responsible for promoting the area to a world-wide audience.
According to DTI President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba, “Tourism is a shared community resource enhancing the quality of life for our families, driving investment and providing opportunities for our friends and neighbors.” She added, “Our team is proud to serve our community and strives to ensure the continued success of the county’s tourism industry which is essential to maintaining the economic stability of the people who live and work in Dutchess.”
Tourism supports 11,024 jobs within Dutchess and registers as the state’s third largest industry. Wages in this sector also continued to grow showing an 8% increase over 2017.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “From the vast number of restaurants, historic sites, art galleries, and cultural attractions to the nearly 200 parks and public use areas and almost 400 miles of trails, there is so much that makes us Distinctly Dutchess.” He added, “The staff at Dutchess Tourism, led by Mary Kay Vrba, works tirelessly to promote our area through community-driven destination development that emphasizes economic, social and environmental sustainability. Thanks to their efforts, visitors from around the world come explore all we have to offer and spend more than half a billion dollars annually, helping keep more than 11,000 people employed, contributing to our state and local taxes, and making this industry a driving economic force for Dutchess communities.”
To attract visitors, DTI utilizes a multi-pronged, research-based, and targeted marketing strategy to raise awareness of Dutchess County and its tourism assets. This includes digital, print, television and radio advertising, primarily in the New York City-metro area and mid-Atlantic region as well as ads and articles in national magazines and international publications. DTI also prints and distributes 90,000 copies of their free Dutchess County Destination Guide annually along with a number of other publications available by request.
DTI is active on social media, attracting thousands of followers across all the major platforms, and produces videos to highlight events as well as experiences. Last year, over a million people visited the organization’s website,
DutchessTourism.com, where they found full details on attractions as well as events, itineraries, spotlights and more.