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November 22, 2019

Politics

County Executive George Latimer shown on May 11, as Playland Amusement Park reopened in Rye for a successful 2019 season. Joining Latimer and other officials was a dragon called Coaster, a new park mascot, named after the perennially popular ride.
County Executive George Latimer shown on May 11, as Playland Amusement Park reopened in Rye for a successful 2019 season. Joining Latimer and other officials was a dragon called Coaster, a new park mascot, named after the perennially popular ride.

Attendance At Playland Amusement Park On The Rise Once Again

After a rollercoaster of a decade, attendance at the county-owned Playland Amusement Park was up this summer by more than 10 percent over the 2018 season, according to Westchester officials.

The good news coincides with the county cancelling its contract with Standard Amusements, which hoped to take over management of the park in Rye.

Playland's 2019 attendance was 508,413, compared with 460,160 in 2018. In contrast, more than 1 million people visited Playland Amusement Park, its pool and beachfront in Rye during the 1999 summer season.

The last year that attendance was so strong was in 2014, when nearly 468,000 visitors were counted. Due to the mild weather this season, Playland remained open for two unplanned "bonus" weekends in late September. The county amusement park also reopened to its largest opening weekend crowd in seven years. 

In court papers, Standard Amusements called the county's cancellation of its contract improper. An earlier article on the contract dispute can be found by clicking here. 

There's more good news for Westchester, its parks and other attractions: On Wednesday, Oct. 2, Latimer is announced that 2018 saw Westchester’s travel and tourism become a nearly $2 billion industry -- an annual record.

“The tourism industry is important to Westchester County and all of its residents, directly providing good jobs and driving economic growth. These record numbers show that our efforts to promote all we have to offer in our picturesque County are working," Latimer said.

In Westchester, visitor spending grew by an estimated five percent last year, representing 45 percent of all visitor spending in the Hudson Valley region. This ranked Westchester County third in visitor spending in New York state -- behind New York City and Long Island. Tourism-related spending supported 24,360 jobs directly and indirectly in 2018 – 5 percent of all jobs in Westchester County.

Tourism activity benefits many industry sectors in Westchester County with all visitor spending categories growing in 2018 to make up that nearly $2 billion record. Spending on lodging jumped 8 percent, followed by food and beverage; and retail and service stations, up five percent. Recreation, transportation and spending on second homes also rose -- by 4 percent apiece.

County Film and Tourism Director Natasha Caputo said: “Westchester County reached new heights as a destination in 2018. The collective efforts between our tourism partners are paying off and reinforces that we are an ideal – and idyllic – destination for both business and leisure.”

Travel and tourism continues to be a significant driver of the County’s economy, providing revenue to support vital County services that residents rely on. Local taxes and state taxes generated $233 million in 2018 from the travel and tourism industry alone.

“Whether it be for business meetings, outdoor recreation, art exhibits, history, music or great food – Westchester County is your ideal destination," Latimer said.