Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that Suffolk County parks, beaches and campgrounds welcomed an estimated 25,000 visitors during Memorial Day Weekend. This milestone marks a significant achievement for the StaySuffolk tourism campaign that is designed to promote Suffolk County Parks, promote local tourism, and highlight popular destinations and regional attractions.
“The investments that we have, and are continuing to make, in our County Parks have brought in new visitors, excitement, and revenue,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “With the unofficial start of summer behind us, I encourage Suffolk County residents to continue visiting our county facilities and amenities that the entire family can enjoy.”
Discover Long Island CEO Kristen Jarnagin said: “The latest Smith Travel Research statistics show double digit growth in both hotel occupancy and rates for the region. Not only do we expect to have a great summer season but the outlook for the year ahead is strong with the visitor economy generating tax revenue and supporting small businesses across the island. Tourism continues to thrive on Long Island as result of collaboration and strategic initiatives that continue to raise destination awareness and increase visitor attraction.”
During Memorial Day weekend this year, 90 percent of Suffolk County Parks Beaches experienced full capacity with all parks facilities, attracting more than 7,000 vehicles and an estimated 24,500 visitors. The increased visitation resulted in more than $100,000 in revenue being generated at county parks, the highest since prior 2015. This represents a nearly 120 percent increase in revenue compared to the year prior and a 285 percent increase from 2017.
Additionally, Suffolk County campgrounds experienced a spike in campground nights stayed with approximately 80 percent of County Park Campgrounds being booked over Memorial Day Weekend. The following campgrounds sold out with 100 percent of available campsites being booked over the holiday weekend; Smith Point County Park, Shinnecock East County Park, Cupsogue County Park, Montauk County Park.
Suffolk County is home to hundreds of miles of pristine, world-class beaches that are regarded as among the best in the country. Cupsogue Beach was named one of the top ten best beaches in New York State by USA Today.
In 2018, Suffolk County enjoyed a nine percent increase in the number of seasonal parking passes sold as well as a 4% increase in camping revenue with already over 17,500 camping reservations booked. While spring storms and nor’easters caused widespread erosion early in the season, Outer Beach camping reservations spiked five percent with over 3200 reservations made in a truncated period of time.
Additionally, due to streamlined communication with the Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC) and innovative approaches for Piping Plover protection, Suffolk County was able to keep all Outer Beaches open, with limited access, throughout plover season for the first time. Not only was this a resounding success for beachgoers and patrons, Suffolk County also had a record number of piping plover pairs, and fledges in 2018.
Long Island boasts a $5.6 billion tourism industry and welcomes more than 9 million visitors each year. Suffolk County benefits from a $2.9 billion impact each year. In Suffolk County, more than $352 million in local and state taxes are generated alone by tourism. The tourism industry here in Suffolk County employs approximately 40,000 employees each year alone.