Excelsior PR logoSixth Annual Event Promotes North Country Tourism, Supporting Statewide Industry that Generated a Record $67.6 Billion in Direct Visitor Spending

Nearly 244 Million Visitors Traveled to New York State, Supporting Economic Impact of More Than $100 Billion for Fourth Straight Year

Bassmaster Elite Series to Return to Waddington, St. Lawrence County August 23-26

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the success of the 2018 Adirondack Challenge, promoting the world-class tourism destinations and recreational opportunities in the North Country. More than 350 elected officials and community members, including Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul—participated in this year's Challenge to showcase outdoor activities visitors to the region can enjoy and experience. While at the Challenge, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled that the New York State's tourism industry generated new records for total visitation, economic impact and direct spending in 2017. The Lieutenant Governor also announced that the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament will return to Waddington, St. Lawrence County this summer between August 23-26.

"The Adirondacks are one of New York's crown jewels, from its breathtaking views to its thrilling recreational activities," Governor Cuomo said. "This year's Adirondack Challenge truly showcases the region's natural beauty, and highlights New York's investment and promotion of the North Country that has only enhanced these assets and has attracted visitors nationwide. I encourage everyone to add the Adirondacks to their vacation list and experience all it has to offer."

"The Adirondacks isn't just a park, it's a home for more than 430,000 New Yorkers who live in the beautiful North Country," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "New York is investing in new developments and transformational improvements in the Adirondacks to enhance people's experience and continue to boost the local economy and robust tourism industry. We're putting the Adirondacks on the global tourism map with more activities, attractions, and lodging for visitors. We're proud of New York's gem and encourage everyone to visit the Adirondacks and all it has to offer."  

The 2018 Adirondack Challenge welcomed more than 350 guests, including state and local officials and tourism industry leaders to Hamilton and Warren Counties for a day of outdoor activities that showcase the region. Events hosted today included: whitewater rafting on the Indian River; horseback riding and a guided three-mile hike through the newly-acquired Boreas Pond region; a 130-mile motorcycle ride through picturesque Adirondack communities; mountain biking through the Indian River tract of the Essex Chain Lakes; nine holes of golf at Cedar River Golf Club in Indian Lake; and kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding. The day concluded with a Taste NY food and beverage reception at Gore Mountain.

PHOTOS of the Challenge participants in various events are available here.

2017 Tourism

New York State's tourism industry generated new records for total visitation, economic impact and direct spending in 2017. Supported by the governor's unprecedented investments in tourism statewide, New York State welcomed a record-high 243.8 million visitors who generated an economic impact of $108.7 billion - exceeding $100 billion for the fourth straight year. In addition, direct visitor spending reached an all-time high of $67.6 billion. These figures each represent a more than four percent increase over 2016.

  • Visitation: 243.8 million 
    New York State welcomed 243.8 million visitors in 2017, nearly 5 million more than the previous year. This represents a nearly 18 percent increase since the Governor took office in 2011.
  • Economic Impact: $108.7 billion
    The total economic impact of tourism statewide reached a record $108.7 billion, exceeding $100 billion for the fourth straight year - an increase of nearly $22 billion from 2011.
  • Direct Spending: $67.6 billion
    Visitors to New York State in 2017 generated $67.6 billion in direct spending, nearly $3 billion more than 2016, and almost $14 billion more than in 2011.
  • State and Local Taxes: $8.5 billion
    New York State tourism generated $8.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2017, a more than 3.6 percent increase over 2016, saving each household an average of $1,172 in taxes.
  • Employment: 938,800 jobs
    Tourism is now the third largest private sector employer in the state, supporting 938,800 jobs last year, according to the New York State Department of Labor.  

Additionally, passenger counts at all New York State airports increased by 2.3 percent in 2017, complemented by a nearly four percent jump in hotel room demand.
Last year, more than 12.4 million people visited the Adirondack region - over 460,000 visitors more than in 2016 - generating more than $1.4 billion in direct visitor spending. This represents a 5.5 percent spending increase over the previous year, and a 24 percent increase since 2011. In addition, regional tourism generated $178 million in State and local taxes.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The state's tourism industry continues to reach unprecedented heights, supporting job creation, small business growth and regional economies statewide. Through events like the Adirondack Challenge, we continue to encourage visitors to plan a trip and experience all there is to see and do in New York State."

Bassmaster Elite Series Returns
Lieutenant Governor Hochul also announced that the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament will return to Waddington, St. Lawrence County this summer between August 23-26. The bass fishing event welcomes more than 32,000 visitors to the North Country each year and draws an international television audience. Last year, more than 100 anglers competed for $100,000 in prize money. In addition to a partnership with Bassmaster to promote fishing across New York State, the Village of Waddington received $50,000 in sponsorship money through I LOVE NY to host musical events throughout the tournament.

Janet Otto-Cassada, Mayor, Village of Waddington, said, "The Village of Waddington is grateful to Governor Cuomo and I LOVE NY for their continued support of the Bassmaster Tournament. The additional $50k received this year allowed the village to host a series of concerts that added to the fun and excitement of the event. The Bassmaster Tournament brings thousands of visitors to the area and allows us to highlight the incredible natural resources Waddington and the North Country have to offer."

ORDA Investments
Through a $7 million investment to modernize and improve snow making at Gore Mountain, the ski area's snow making capacity will increase by 40% while retaining its title as one of the most environmentally responsible ski resorts in the nation. Gore continues to boast the largest solar array installations for a ski mountain in the nation. Nearly 85 percent of its electricity-needs are now being met by clean, renewable energy.

Whiteface is seeing investment dollars, too. Whiteface continues to set records within the tourism industry, as they were able to stay open and welcome skiers all the way through May 5, setting a record for number of operational days.  A continuation of an $8 million plan will increase their snow making capacity by 25% and provide the much-needed repairs and replacement to the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway and Castle elevator system. The new elevator will take guests through the mountain and directly to the summit. It will be fully installed by May 2019 and ORDA is anticipating record-high summer visitation. 

The Olympic Venues and Mount Van Hoevenberg are on track to host the world with more than 50 world-class events and competitions within the next 18 months. Their infrastructure plan will ensure that they continue to bring visitors to Lake Placid from around the globe. Events like the 2018 North Atlantics Figure Skating Championships, 2018 Luge and Bobsled World Cups, 2019 International Children's Winter Games, 2019 Para-Bobsled World Championships and the 2019 ECAC Men's Ice Hockey Championship has kept Lake Placid within the world's spotlight for elite winter competition. 

The 2023 World University Winter Games are second in scope and size only to the Winter Olympics and they have chosen Lake Placid and the Adirondacks as their 2023 site.  The much-needed facility improvements to the venues will ensure a successful delivery of the games for thousands of athletes, fans and world delegations. The World University Games are larger than both the 1980 and 1932 Olympics combined and the ORDA facilities will be ready to welcome them.

Olympic Regional Development Authority, CEO & President Mike Pratt said, "ORDA continues to be a key economic driver in the Adirondacks as we experienced an increase in visitation, longest ever operating season, improved guest survey results and international acclaim.  As we move forward, we are excited about offering even more year-round experiences that will attract both world-class competition and recreational opportunities for all who visit." 

Frontier Town Campground
Construction for the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area is well underway after an April groundbreaking. The Equestrian Campground and Day Use Area will be completed this fall, with the regular Campground sites to follow spring of 2019. The new, public campground facility, located at the site of the former Frontier Town theme park in the town of North Hudson, is a signature project of the Governor's "Gateway to the Adirondacks" tourism hub and part of the State's Adventure NY initiative to enhance access to state lands and connect New Yorkers to nature and the outdoors. An estimated $25 million in public/private resources have been committed to the project to date.  

Paradox Brewery Update
The $5.2 million Paradox Brewery expansion project is also underway at the former Frontier Town site in North Hudson, Essex County. Since breaking ground in April, significant sitework and infrastructure work has begun. Paradox anticipates equipment to be delivered by October, with plans to begin manufacturing beer in the new facility by December. The project remains on time for full completion by next summer. ESD has agreed to support the project with a $200,000 North Country Regional Economic Development Council grant, and $300,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for the creation of 22 jobs. 

Welcome Centers
Both the Adirondack and North Country Welcome Centers are under construction with anticipated fall 2018 openings. These state-of-the-art Welcome Centers advance the Governor's commitment to growing local and regional economies by showcasing local attractions, historic sites, and New York-made food and craft beverages. Renderings of the Adirondack Welcome Center are available here, and renderings of the North Country Welcome Center are available here.



Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov