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ROOST sees significant return on tourism investment

Sharron Miller sits at the front desk of the ROOST/Lake Placid CVB visitors center, located in the Conference Center at Lake Placid.

Sharron Miller sits at the front desk of the ROOST/Lake Placid CVB visitors center, located in the Conference Center at Lake Placid. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— For every dollar that the Regional Office on Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) spends, Essex County sees $52 in tourism spending.

Lake Placid CVB/ROOST President and CEO Jim McKenna presented the findings of his organization’s 2011 survey to members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors during its July 9 Economic Development, Planning and Publicity Committee meeting.

“This is a very high number for the business that we are in,” McKenna said.

McKenna presented the findings, which can be found online at roostadk.com/resources/research (titled “2011 Leisure Travel Study.pdf”), which came from more than 1,400 people who responded to an online survey conducted by PlaceMaking.

“These are people who are responding to our marketing initiatives,” McKenna said. “We had a total of 1,499 responses and 100 of them were removed because they were not completed in some way.”

The results showed the following:

•The average stay reported by 2011 visitors was 2.8 nights; this is substantially lower than found in 2010. The five-year average for duration of stay was four nights, a number that has been decreasing somewhat over the last five years.

•The average age of respondents was 49 years old, slightly younger than reported by 2010 visitors.

•The average party size for 2011 was 3.8 persons, with the adult party size increasing slightly from 2010.

•Over half of visitor respondents were from New York state, a higher proportion than in the prior year. Fourteen percent of respondents hail from Canada, an increase from 10 percent in 2010. Visitors from outside of New York, the Northeast or Canada comprised 21 percent of respondents in 2010, but only 13 percent in 2011.

•Social media participants represent about 10 percent of the overall respondents, and this sub-group had some notable results.

•Outdoor activities have not only remained at the top of the list of activities that attracted visitors to the region, they have steadily grown in popularity as a draw. Hiking was the most popular reported outdoor activity, followed by canoeing/kayaking. Outdoor activities were followed by relaxing, dining and shopping and sightseeing.

“Spring and fall were the main times that people visited,” McKenna said.

Over the past five years, the study showed that each party spent an average of $442.56 each day on leisure activities, including lodging and restaurants.

“It is a little high, which may be because these trips were planned over weekends when hotel rates are higher,” McKenna said.

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