What better place to be? | Local
Tourism officials in the area say the area is getting plenty of visitors this summer, despite inflation, high gas prices and a lingering pandemic.
Warren County statistics through the end of June show year-over-year increases in all lodging categories with lodging demand up 19% year-to-date, revenue up 30% and an occupancy rate up 20%.
June’s numbers alone were up 7.7%, 12.9% and 8.6%, respectively, from a year ago, said Paul Tackett, acting director of tourism for Warren County.
And Tackett said the increase is being felt across the county, including “mom and pop” facilities in places like North Creek, Chester, Lake Luzerne, not just the tourist mecca of Lake George.
“Everything is in place – year after year, year to date,” Tackett said. “I’ve spoken to different landlords across the county, and all are equal to or better than last year’s bookings.”
People also read…
Tackett said the vacation home rental business in the area was also booming.
Tyler Herrick, general manager of the Queensbury Hotel, said bookings were up again this summer after setting occupancy records last summer.
“Last year, coming out of the pandemic, was a banner year, and we’re going to top it in 2022,” said Herrick, chairman of Spruce Hospitality Group which also operates the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Queensbury.
But Herrick said food sales aren’t as strong as the number of accommodations, and he suggested that’s where visitors could save money. Rather than dining out every night or having a full sit-down breakfast, he said many were likely looking for cheaper options, in part to offset higher room costs.
“Maybe they make a full breakfast one day and the rest of the time they have a muffin or an energy bar or something,” he said. “So we definitely see a little impact there.”
Amy Collins, Glens Falls tourism manager, said tourism has been strong in Glens Falls, but she also hinted that at least the restaurants overall could have done better last year, partly may -because people could eat out again and the city was helping with outdoor seating.
“We’re on the heels of one of the best years ever,” she said. “But tourism in Glens Falls doesn’t go really high and it doesn’t go really low. We are 365. We are here every day.
Amanda Metzger, director of marketing for the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, said visitor numbers and spending in Lake George were also high, but she said they appeared to be back to pre-pandemic numbers in 2019. She said traders and accommodation managers were happy, but she said the past two COVID years have been even busier.
“It was a very stressful two years for everyone,” Metzger said of the peak years of the pandemic. “But what better way to relax and get away from it all than going to the Adirondacks.”
And that’s what people did, she said.
They came to the area for boating, hiking and camping at a time when other vacation options weren’t really available.
They always come, Metzger said, but now they have other options too.
“I know a lot of people are taking trips that they planned to take in 2020,” she said.
Mya Buckler, store manager of Silvermine North on Canada Street, agreed with Metzger’s assessment.
“Better than before COVID, not as good as during,” she said.
She, like Metzger, guessed it’s because people who couldn’t go to “Disneyland or Aruba” during the pandemic are going there now.
“But we also get a lot of ‘We came here during COVID and came back,'” she said.
Parking meter revenue and sewage flow are indicators of tourist traffic in Lake George and village clerk Debra McKinney said sewage flow was about the same as last year over the weekend. July 4 holiday weekend and parking meter receipts were up about 3%.
Collins said part of tourism’s continued success can also be attributed to cooperation between tourism groups and municipalities that has intensified during peak COVID times.
“That connectivity has been greatly enhanced by the pandemic,” she said.
Douglas Azaert, owner of the Wild Waters Outdoor Center which runs white-water rafting trips on the Hudson and Sacandaga rivers, also echoed Metzger’s comments that this year may have been a little different from last year. last. He said June was a little slow due to cooler weather, but July was strong and August bookings are strong too.
“But we’ve been really busy the last two years,” he said. “It’s been a more normal type of summer.”
Both Herrick and Metzger pointed out that this area has done well tourism-wise during the pandemic and is doing well now despite high gas prices and the effects of inflation — and really for the same reasons.
During the pandemic, the Adirondacks and Lake George region was considered a safe haven with safe recreational opportunities like boating, hiking, swimming and biking, they said.
And those same recreational opportunities, along with free entertainment options like free concerts in Shepard Park, are playing well while pinching pennies these days, Metzger said.
“There is no charge to enjoy nature,” she said. “And we’re less than a tank of gas from many places like New York and Montreal.”