SCIDA Unveils Groundbreaking Report on Economic Impact of Popular Visitor Destinations 

County and state see a combined $647 million impact from Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Casino Hotel and Saratoga National Historical Park 

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.—A comprehensive report unveiled Monday reveals that tourism at four of Saratoga County’s most popular destinations resulted in more than $647 million in total economic impact for the county and New York state in 2021, leading to positive economic ripple effects throughout the entire Capital Region and Empire State. 

The report, released by the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA), also reveals that tourism in 2021 at Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Casino Hotel and Saratoga National Historical Park helped to create 5,770 jobs and generated $5,702,765 in tax revenue for Saratoga County and $18,247,024 for New York. Total spending throughout the nine-county Capital Region related to the four entities was $647,583,243 in the study.  

“These results validate what we have known all along: that Saratoga County is a vitally important economic driver for the state of New York,” said SCIDA Board Chairman Rodney Sutton. “The fact that this study captured figures from 2021, just months removed from the strictest COVID shutdowns, proves that Saratoga County’s attractions are resilient and their collective future is bright spot in our county and state.” 

The study was conducted and delivered by Camoin Associates and provides individual breakdowns of the economic impact at each of the four destinations. In 2021, Saratoga Race Course produced the most jobs (2,937) and largest overall employee earnings ($157,857,604) and sales ($371,067,040) of the four attractions.  

“Horse racing is a powerful engine for the New York economy that supports families and communities in every corner of the state,” said David O’Rourke, NYRA president & CEO. “Nowhere is that more evident than here in Saratoga Springs and throughout Upstate New York, where the popularity and importance of Saratoga Race Course are at an all-time high. NYRA looks forward to welcoming fans back to the Spa on Thursday for what is sure to be a spectacular summer.” 

According to the report, 59% of Saratoga Race Course’s visitors were from outside the Capital Region, with about half spending at least one night in a regional hotel. 

Of the four tourist destinations, Saratoga Casino Hotel had the highest number of total visitors with more than 1.5 million people playing and staying at the popular resort throughout the year. Camoin Associates also reported $60 million in 2021 sales at Saratoga Casino Hotel, with more than $17 million in new spending coming from outside the Capital Region.  

“SCIDA, Saratoga County and the City of Saratoga Springs have been wonderful partners and supporters, and the outstanding numbers in this report would not be possible without them,” said Skip Carlson, vice president of external affairs for Saratoga Casino Hotel. “We are honored to be one of the county’s major destinations, and part of a group driving tax dollars, investment and growth for one of New York’s premier tourist regions. This report indicates that our collective success is reliable, sustained, and primed for many prosperous years to come.” 

Saratoga Performing Arts Center saw 475,000 total visitors in 2021, with more than half traveling to the area from outside the Capital Region. The venue has undergone approximately $16 million in improvements in the past five years, including to the Charles R. Wood stage, Pines Buildings campus, and SPAC School of the Arts. 

“We at SPAC have long understood the impact cultural tourism can have on a city in terms of both the immeasurable value of arts and culture to its citizens and the measurable fiscal impact the sector can have on a community as a whole. Nowhere in the world but Saratoga Springs can a visitor find world class arts, best-in-class thoroughbred horse racing and breathtaking natural beauty, all in the midst of a remarkable historic city,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center. “We are heartened to see that the data from the Saratoga County IDA confirms what we have known about the tremendous economic impact an institution like SPAC can bring to the region: SPAC brings over $100 Million in economic impact to the community, serving half a million visitors each summer and offering brilliant, vital year-round programming to audiences in our region and far beyond.”

Saratoga National Historic Park, which encompasses five sites on 3,579 acres, offers hiking and biking, as well as educational experiences at Saratoga Battlefield. In 2021, 44% of its visitors came from outside the Capital Region, indicating a desire for guests to learn about the area’s rich history. 

“The results of the Saratoga County IDA’s economic impact study prove Saratoga County is a world-class tourist destination with top-notch entertainment, cultural, and historical attractions for people of all ages and interests,” said Saratoga County Administrator Steve Bulger. “As we near our nation’s 250th anniversary of the American Revolution and Saratoga County commemorates the Battles of Saratoga’s pivotal role in securing American freedom, we are excited to elevate our region’s historical tourism sector alongside our well established cultural and entertainment sectors to entice even more visitors to experience beautiful Saratoga County.” 

The report updates available data from previous studies published in 2006, 2011, and 2015. It may be accessed in full and summary versions by clicking here. 

Pictures from Monday’s event are available here. 

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