Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST)/Lake Placid CVB Executive Director Jim McKenna, left, and ROOST Board of Directors 2nd Vice Chairman Mike Beglin talk to members of the Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation Monday, Aug. 13.
Photo by Andy Flynn.
continued They want workshops, promotion, marketing and a good website. So the Chamber is focusing on educational opportunities to members and member services, not special events as it had in the past.
Mayor Rabideau asked ROOST’s McKenna to the LDC meeting to pick his brain, as he is one of the most highly regarded tourism experts in the Adirondack Park.
“Potential visitors, they don’t necessarily see boundaries,” McKenna said. “They’re more interested in accomplishing what they want to accomplish, whether it be activities or dining or lodging or whatever they want to do. That’s really the criteria that they look at.”
Traditionally, communities competed against each other to attract visitors, but the tourism industry has changed, according to McKenna.
“When you look at communities like we have here in our Tri-Lakes here, it’s not really about competing with each other,” McKenna said. “It’s about the Adirondacks versus other areas. From that point of view, I think we’re better off the more we work together on all the programs and projects.”
Marketing is only part of the equation. Communities have to do more than rely on advertising. People will gravitate to where the amenities and facilities are, he said.
“The whole region has great outdoor activities, but it’s really the people comforts that we have to concentrate on more and more,” McKenna said.
And having those amenities will get people talking.
“Ending up with good word of mouth and good buzz is really what it’s about,” McKenna said.
Although tourism officials in Franklin County are saying that they have a great opportunity to increase revenue through occupancy taxes, such as Essex County does, McKenna has his doubts.
“I’m not sure about that,” McKenna said. “I’m not really sure those numbers are as great as people are thinking they are ... I’ve done sort of a little inventory, and I’m not sure.”