I’ve been writing a lot recently about tourism in the Adirondacks and the North Country region more broadly. What I’m finding is kind of a tale of two cities, or rather two very different types of small town. Some communities in our region are really surfing the tourism wave. Others, not so much.
“We’re extremely fortunate in the Adirondacks that our principal industry is tourism,” says Lake George Mayor Robert Blais. In his community, tourism is booming so fiercely that they actually have growing pains. They earn more from parking meters than some North Country villages earn from property taxes.
But in a detailed article for the Adirondack Explorer magazine, which you can read here in full, I found that a lot of the region just isn’t gaining much traction with that “principal industry.”
“Tourism’s heyday as we have traditionally defined it may be a bygone era,” warned Ernest Hohmeyer, owner of Lake Clear Lodge, who writes about economic issues in the Park.
While the Park’s visitor industry “will continue to play a dominant role” in hub towns such as Lake George and Old Forge, Hohmeyer and others are convinced that more remote Adirondack villages will struggle to compete. “Some of these communities are so small, their infrastructure is so out of date, and the amenities they offer no longer appeal to today’s visitor,” Hohmeyer said.
So what do you think? Is tourism working in your town? Are you in the industry? If so, what does your community need to do to harness more visitors?