Our neighbors to the north

Have you noticed a larger number of Ontario and Quebec license plates around town? Thinking about learning French? Our neighbors to the north have certainly been noticing us, and not without good reason. A strong increase in the amount of Canadian visitors to Lake Placid has led us to believe that several factors are involved in attracting this extremely important group to the region.

Fifteen years ago Canadian visitors accounted for up to 30% of leisure travel business. That dropped off considerably after the devaluing of the Canadian dollar, but since the resurgence of their currency weve seen a steady rise in people venturing south to sample our locale; approximately 15-18% according to bureau president Jim McKenna.

The revaluing of the Canadian dollar as well as endeavoring to reach out to our northern neighbors by focusing public relations efforts around major Canadian metropolitan areas has significantly helped to spur the rise in visitors. Since 2006 the number of foreign inquires has increased over 20%, a considerable gain.

Most recently, Lake Placid was host to five national Canadian news outlets, including publications and televised media. Le Journal de Montreal, La Presse, the Toronto Star and the Kingston Whig-Standard all published articles by travel journalists about Lake Placid. Most notably, Marianne Wisenthal, a Field Producer for This Morning Live Global Television in Montreal, visited Lake Placid and toured the Olympic venues as well as experiencing a guided fishing trip on Lake Placid. Her visit translated into a five-minute feature on the show; invaluable publicity aimed at such a large potential audience.

In addition I Love NY, the New York State tourism program, focused a heavy ad campaign on the Toronto area by promoting upstate New York prominently featuring the new exchange rate as an incentive to explore the region.

Mike Beglin, of Beglins Lake Placid Jewelry and Gift Store, summed it up best saying : Canadian business this summer made the difference in traffic on Main Street. License plates from Ontario and Quebec really stood outits been many years since I have heard so much French spoken in town.

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