Lake George lures Canadian travelers

Click the Canadian flag on the top right of the Web pages and the text turns from English to French, courtesy of Google Translate. A "three-hour drive from Montreal" instantly turns into "une des trois heures de route facile de Montr al."

And French-speaking Canadians visiting Lake George can stop by the Chamber office on Route 9 to pick up brochures and speak to CVB Membership Sales Coordinator Sue Scott Parker, who is fluent in French and routinely welcomes Francophones (as well as Anglophones) to Lake George.

On the streets of Lake George, especially at the downtown Visitors' Center, tourists may see the two Chamber mascots welcoming Canadians during the summer. Georgie - the big green guy- is the Lake George Lake Monster and wears a white shirt that says, "Welcome Canadian Visitors!" And there is Jacque - a red Canadian maple leaf head with bright white eyes and a huge smile - who wears a black tuxedo. The two mascots can sometimes be seen together at special events or just roaming the streets during the busy season.

With a strong Canadian economy, the push to market Lake George to our neighbors in the north was a no-brainer for the Chamber.

"It's at least 20 to 25 percent of our market," Craige-Sherman said.

There are more than 4,000 Canadians in the Chamber's database, and they receive regular e-mail newsletters about travel deals and events in the Lake George region. Those names came from people who signed up for the Chamber's popular Canadian Bienvenue Discount Card program. Travelers who sign up must prove their Canadian citizenship. Then they get a discount card, which gives them discounts at participating businesses, including 14 accommodations, eight attractions, five restaurants and two gift shops.

Craige-Sherman encourages more local businesses sign up for the program as a way to entice Canadian customers, and she said they should train their front desk staff about the program. Canadians can sign up online at the Chamber's Web site.

"People are always looking for deals," she said.

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