HARRISON, N.Y. -- Officials praised the state of the Westchester County tourism industry on Monday while launching a new shuttle service to Empire City Casino and celebrating a $12 million renovation at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in Harrison.
The shuttle service will provide free round-trip service between Empire City Casino in Yonkers and 12 hotels throughout Westchester. The casino recently underwent a $50 million expansion that includes a new casino entrance, 66,000 square feet of gaming floor, two new restaurants and a new cocktail lounge that includes a bowling alley.
"What more of a perfect partnership would there possibly be than to partner with our hotels to make sure their guests not only have the option for this additional entertainment and have free transportation to and from, but also perhaps stay an additional night," said Taryn Duffy, the director of public affairs for Empire City Casino.
The casino had 8.4 million visitors last year, and over the past six years produced $2.4 billion for local and state governments, $1.8 billion of which went directly to education, Duffy said.
Renaissance Westchester's $12 million renovation includes new meeting and public spaces, bright new guest rooms and a restaurant, Hive Living Room + Bar. Catherine Stevens, the general manager for the hotel, said that the renovation has been very well received by guests, and the new shuttle to the casino will provide more entertainment options for visitors.
"We certainly know how important the travel and tourism industry is here in Westchester County," said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. "It's good for businesses, it's good for the county and it's certainly good for all the residents who live in this county."
Visitors to Westchester spent $1.68 billion in 2012, Astorino said, which is a 2 percent increase over the previous year and exceeded pre-recession spending of $1.66 billion in 2007. The industry generated $200 million in local taxes and state taxes in 2012.
Westchester represents 53 percent of all visitor spending in the Hudson Valley region, and supports more than 23,000 jobs.
Several other hotels throughout Westchester have also undergone upgrades, including a $15 million renovation to the Crowne Plaza in White Plains, a $10 million renovation of the Castle Hotel and Spa in Tarrytown, and a $2 million reconception of the restaurant at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown. A 130-room Cambria Suites hotel in White Plains and the Green Holiday Inn in Peekskill are currently under construction.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.