Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Images provided by the Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul // Flickr page link
Images provided by the Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul // Flickr page link

Hochul announces record tourism numbers during total solar eclipse

Fri, Apr 12th 2024 02:05 pm

From April 6-9, nearly 1 million visitors came to New York state parks – a 45% increase in attendance compared to 2023

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced record-setting tourism numbers in New York from April 6-9 as visitors arrived for the total solar eclipse. Nearly 1 million people visited New York State Parks over that period, an increase of 45% compared to last year. The New York State Thruway Authority and New York State Department of Transportation recorded significant increases in vehicle travel, and the NYPA provided nearly double the charging miles for electric vehicles when compared to the previous week.

Hochul was one of 45,000 visitors who experienced Monday’s celestial event at Niagara Falls State Park.

“From majestic Niagara Falls to the mighty Adirondacks, New York was one of the best places on Earth to witness this once-in-a-generation celestial event,” Hochul said. “We planned for more than a year to welcome a record number of visitors during the total solar eclipse, and those preparations helped this event go off safely and successfully.”

In October 2022, Hochul convened an interagency task force comprised of nearly two-dozen state agencies and authorities to prepare to welcome the influx of visitors the state expected for this once-in-a-generation event. State agencies involved in the task force reported record services provided to residents and travelers.

•New York State Parks: From April 6-9, nearly 1 million visitors showed up to New York state parks to witness and celebrate the total solar eclipse, an increase in attendance of more than 45% compared to the same days in 2023. On April 8 alone, state parks welcomed more than 326,500 visitors, a 52%-plus jump in attendance compared to last year. A dozen state parks reached full capacity on Monday:

  • Cayuga Lake (Seneca County)
  • Chimney Bluffs (Wayne County)
  • Crown Point (Essex County)
  • Cumberland Bay (Clinton County)
  • Fair Haven State Park (Cayuga County)
  • John Brown Farm (Essex County)
  • Point Au Roche (Clinton County)
  • Robert Whele (Jefferson County)
  • Selkirk (Oswego County)
  • Seneca Lake (Seneca County)
  • Southwick Beach (Jefferson County)
  • Stony Brook State Park (Steuben County)

Hochul opened campgrounds at state parks within the path of totality early to accommodate visitors for the total solar eclipse. They were 100% booked the night of April 7 and 93% booked the night of April 8. To welcome visitors, New York state parks and historic sites hosted numerous eclipse-viewing gatherings on Monday. Additionally, scientists, subject matter experts and astronauts from the NASA provided programming and exhibits at Niagara Falls State Park through April 8.

Images provided by the Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul // Flickr page link


•New York Power Authority: On April 7 and 8, the New York State Power Authority reported that Evolve stations dispensed over 260,000 miles of driving, which is over 115,000 more miles dispensed than the same days the previous week.

•New York State Department of Transportation: DOT staff and resources were fully engaged up to and through the eclipse, monitoring traffic conditions, responding to emergencies and helping motorists get to their destinations safely and with as few delays as possible. As expected, New York state experienced moderate to heavy traffic volumes in certain areas along the path of totality, especially in the North Country and Adirondacks. Hochul’s team said that, aside from a few crashes that were addressed quickly, there were no major reported incidents.

•New York State Thruway Authority: During the five-day period from Friday, April 5, to Tuesday, April 9, over 5.5 million toll transactions were recorded. The peak day was Tuesday, with more than 1.2 million toll transactions, a 21% surge over the previous year. Gas sales and overall sales at the service areas almost doubled during the eclipse weekend, with the peak day being Tuesday, similar to a summer travel weekend. In addition, charging sessions at the EV charging stations increased by over 111% compared to weekdays in March.

•New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority facilities welcomed more than 10,000 guests, including at Whiteface Mountain, Gore Mountain, Belleayre Mountain, the Olympic Center, Mt. Van Hoevenberg and the Olympic Jumping Complex. All of the facilities were open access for eclipse viewing on April 8 and held special events for visitors. The venues are primarily utilized for visitor attractions, recreation, training and competition.

•New York State Office of Information Technology Services: In partnership with New York State Parks, ITS significantly improved the digital infrastructure within Niagara Falls State Park as part of a large-scale initiative that involved the deployment of a highly resilient, robust and high-speed network to enhance visitor experiences. In addition, ITS employees were on site before and during the event to ensure success.

Acting New York State Parks Commissioner Randy Simons said, “What an incredible day it was! People from around the world came to our parks and historic sites to share a once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse. Hundreds of thousands of people enjoyed a rich, memorable experience thanks to the hard work of our staff and Park Police over a two-year period. I’m grateful for Gov. Hochul’s leadership as well as the assistance of our state and local partners for making the event a great success.”

NYS DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “It often takes a village to make the extraordinary happen, and thanks to a multiagency effort spearheaded by Gov. Hochul, this week’s solar eclipse was a rousing success for New York state. People across the state heeded the warnings, arriving early and staying late to enjoy the many wonders that the Empire State has to offer. In between, people got to experience a natural event that was truly out of this world. The days, weeks and months of planning were well worth it, and I was extremely proud of the role that team NYSDOT played in this once-in-a-generation event.”

Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Frank G. Hoare, Esq., said, “Preparations for the eclipse began more than a year ago, and the thorough planning proved successful as there were no major disruptions on the thruway system throughout the state. I want to thank Gov. Hochul and her administration for leading a collaborative, multiagency effort that brought stakeholders together to deliver an experience that was memorable in many ways. I also want to express my appreciation to the countless individuals who traveled safely via the thruway system to witness the eclipse, heeding advice to arrive early and stay late at their viewing locations.”

NYPA President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “The New York Power Authority’s Niagara and St. Lawrence hydropower plants were both within the solar eclipse path of totality, and their visitors centers served as prime viewing locations. We at NYPA were pleased to offer visitors a place to watch this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon with us – as well as a way to get there! The Power Authority’s Evolve NY network of EV charging stations helped ensure that EV drivers could reliably travel to Western New York and the North Country for the exciting occasion.”

New York State Chief Information Officer Dru Rai said, “The Office of Information Technology Services is proud to have built the agile and resilient technology network that allowed thousands of visitors, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and members of the media to bring this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience to the world. State government works best when we work together, and we were thrilled to join our partners in playing an important role in this historic event for New York.”

Hometown News

View All News