Tourism Becoming Big Economic Driver in Westchester County

The new economic analysis revealed that film, television, and commercial production in 2023 supported 2,053 jobs and $198.2 million in wages in the county.

Tourism Becoming Big Economic Driver in Westchester County
The City of Yonkers is becoming the “Hollywood on the Hudson” in large part due to the Lionsgate Studios. FILE PHOTO

WHITE PLAINS—A newly released report by Westchester County has shown that despite the industry-wide challenges in 2022 and 2023, film production in Westchester still yielded $2 billion in economic activity, 6,796 jobs and $656 million in wages during those two years.

The new economic analysis also revealed that film, television, and commercial production in 2023 supported 2,053 jobs and $198.2 million in wages in the county.

The Westchester County Tourism & Film Department brought together over 130 film production professionals and representatives from Westchester’s film locations, municipalities, and local businesses that support the sector at the Hudson River Museum on April 16 to highlight Westchester’s resiliency and collaborative, film-friendly environment.

Noting that despite the industry-wide impact of external factors such as the pandemic, two industry strikes (Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA unions) which combined lasted more than seven months and increased competition from other regions vying for film business, the film sector was still able to contribute $1.9 million in sales tax, $950,000 in lodging-related revenue and more than $1 million in permit and property rental fees in 2023 alone. While also adding 425 tourism jobs in Westchester as a result of the film industry.

Westchester County George Latimer said: “Westchester is a top-tier destination for film production thanks to our diverse locations, film-friendly communities and a skilled and supportive network of people and businesses. This report underscores the film industry’s vital role in driving our local economy, creating jobs and boosting tourism.”

He added: "Despite these challenges, the film industry in Westchester demonstrates remarkable resilience and remains a cornerstone of our local economy. Film, television, and commercial production provides thousands of jobs for our residents, boosts local businesses and puts our stunning scenery on the global map.”

Westchester County Tourism & Film Director Natasha Caputo said: “Our efforts to attract new business have made an undeniable impact. Our collaborative approach, spanning the entire County, has proven inviting to filmmakers and visitors alike. What’s more, screen tourism, spurred by the recognition of our locations in today’s hottest shows, bolsters our economy and affirms that we are creating a welcoming, film-friendly environment.”

The film office provides location guidance, offers technical site visits, and facilitates the permit process. The support makes a big difference in choosing where to film, according to many industry professionals.

The film industry also creates a vibrant community in Westchester. County officials pointed to the Yonkers Film & Television Production Academy as a prime example. The academy, a new career and technical school, is scheduled to open this September. The collaboration between Yonkers Public Schools and Great Point Studios aims to prepare the next generation of artisans for employment in a variety of arts-based industries.

Westchester Hotel Association President and General Manager of the Cambria Hotel in White Plains Sean Meade said of the report’s findings: “We always go the extra mile to ensure film crews have what they need, whether to provide a unique location for filming or to offer welcome respite after a long day of production. Embracing the industry has resulted in a steady revenue stream for the hospitality sector in Westchester.”

Recent award-winning and popular productions that were filmed in Westchester in 2022 and 2023 included The Crowded Room (Apple TV+); FBI: Most Wanted (CBS); Feud: Capote vs. The Swans (FX, Hulu); The Gilded Age (HBO); The Girls on the Bus (HBO); Leave the World Behind (Netflix); Life and Beth (Hulu); Maestro (Netflix); Poker Face (Peacock); Succession (HBO); Severance (Apple TV+); and The White House Plumbers (HBO).

Director of “The Gilded Age (HBO), Michael Engler said: “It’s all about location, location, location. [Westchester has] these magnificent homes and estates which bear the unmistakable imprint of the Gilded Age. We also shoot up there because of the space—land, big parking lots, parks, and pathways. People were extremely friendly and gracious. We all love shooting in Westchester.”

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Real Estate In-Depth.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.