Sullivan County sees tourism boom

Published on : Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sullivan CountySince 2014, Sims and Kirsten Foster, husband and wife, has opened four small Sullivan County hotels, with a booming business.

Both left lucrative careers in New York City; him as a vice president for an international hotel management company, and her as an economist with the Federal Reserve, to open their inns.

But as much as the two early 40-somethings’ lives have changed, Sullivan County’s tourism market has transformed a lot more since its dark days in the 1990s.

Sullivan County’s visitor spending skyrocketed nearly 10 percent to $419.2 million in 2016 from $388.3 million in 2015.

Hoteliers, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs like the Fosters are a reason why Sullivan County’s tourism is growing, said Roberta Byron-Lockwood, president and CEO of the Sullivan Catskills tourism bureau.

Elsewhere locally, tourism revenues also rose, but less dramatically. Orange County’s visitor spending grew 3.6 percent to $474.7 million in 2016 from $457.9 million in 2015, and Ulster County saw a 6 percent increase to $554.1 million from $532.7 million.

In Sullivan County, Sims Foster and Byron-Lockwood said that residents have written a new tourism narrative. Out with the borscht belt resorts and boarding houses; in with the quaint and quirky, nature and nonconformists, fishing, foraging and farms.

The Fosters’ four properties have 47 rooms. But each inn has no more than 14 rooms, and they represent different sides of Sullivan County.


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