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Columbia-Greene counties see continued growth in the tourism industry

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    Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes his way to gazebo at Dutchmen’s Landing with Greene County Tourism Marketing Manager Heather Bagshaw and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. The state’s annual survey of the economic impact of tourism across the state shows Greene and Columbia counties have seen steady growth in tourism since 2014. Bagshaw said tourism is integral to the economy in Greene County and the county government due to sales tax revenue.
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    Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden speaking during the Shared Services Initiative public hearing in Catskill. Shaun Groden said Greene County’s sales tax revenue this year is 4 percent higher than it was at the same time last year.
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    A view of the Hudson River from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. The Hudson Valley Region as a whole saw tourist spending reach $3,536,433 in 2016 and the Catskill Region saw $1,232,096 in traveler spending in 2016.
August 4, 2017 05:30 pm

Columbia County and Greene County showed fast growth in its tourism industry, evidenced by a state survey of the economic impact of tourism throughout the state based on data from 2016.

The state’s survey, focused on numbers from 2016, is called “The Economic Impact of Tourism in New York.” It includes numbers from six counties in the Hudson Valley.

According to the survey, tourists spent over $140 million in Columbia County in 2016 and tax revenues generated by tourists grew by 8.2 percent.

Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said his county’s sales tax revenue is 4 percent higher than it was at the same time last year.

“We have the three big music festivals on the mountain. If you are going to those, you can’t even find a vacant hotel. That generates a lot of sales tax,” Groden said. “Tourism is our industry. We are not like Albany; we do not have a manufacturing base.”

Heather Bagshaw, tourism marketing manager for Greene County, said county residents would have to pay an extra $1,028 in taxes if not for the sales tax revenue that is generated by tourism.

According to the survey, in 2016, New York as a whole saw 2.7 percent growth in traveler spending, reaching a new high of nearly $65 billion — 22 percent above the state’s pre-recession peak set in 2008.

The Hudson Valley Region has seen a steady increase of tourist spending since 2014 which saw the region generate $3,318,442 that year to $3,536,433 in 2016. The Catskill Region saw $1,232,096 in traveler spending in 2016, up from $1,128,817 in 2014.

“Clearly the county’s tourism industries continue to grow at a significant rate, and we are delighted,” said Columbia County Tourism Administrator Ann Cooper.

According to the survey, Columbia County saw a 7.7 percent increase in traveler spending, the largest increase of any of the six counties included as part of the Hudson Valley Region.

According to the survey, of the six counties included under the Hudson Valley Region in the survey, Columbia County’s employment showed to be the most dependent upon tourism, with 7.6 percent of all labor income generated by visitors.

Statewide, 8.3 percent of New York’s employment was sustained by tourism, equaling more than 780,000 jobs.

“Greene County is on par with the entire state in the growth of our tourism industry,” Bagshaw said.

Bagshaw said labor income from visitors in Greene County in 2016 was 12.1 percent, 7.3 percent was direct income from tourism.

“The tourism industry plays a significant role within the county and has a positive impact on our sales tax receipts,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell of Stockport.

“I’m pleased with the work our tourism department is doing and particularly, the successes that the county tourism industry, businesses and organizations continue to achieve,” Murell said.

The number of visitors to Greene County in 2016, most of whom lived in lodging or second homes, increased 4.2 percent.

“Tourism is very important for jobs and for the sales tax in Greene County,” Bagshaw said.

Fully missing is any insight to create sustainable, year-round, non-government tech and industry in Greene County. While "tourism is very important" it's not enough to create the new money to fix the jail or sustain a hospital or a 4 year college. Most homes are owned by people who don't live here, which means they don't hold the administration or legislature's feet to the fire, which is why we get poor results. Greene County CAN achieve financial independence, which each county must do. Restaurants and zip lines are fine... but with at 75% college rate for Catskill High School we likely want to create career paths that allow the creation of new money. Tourism brings in money, industry creates it. Jails and law enforcement, while necessary, are not productive. Hudson garnered 10 million to attract tech grants, which were announced last week. Here... nothing.
And some actual competence from GC administration and legislature... No tech and no industry means we're only shuffling other people's money around and not creating new money. That's why there's a declining per capita and the population here. Hudson did it last week with the $10 million tech water-front project they announced. Greene County is NOT on par with other counties, which is not a good reference in the first place. The county has a $110,000,000 annual expenditure, but no industry other than public jobs, and seasonal tourism. There was a thought that spending $90,000,000 to house 106 detainees would help, but it's a 30 year loan that only spends, and spends money Greene County doesn't have. That's stopped, not let's move on to actual tech and industry. All other conditions are here for it.