Tourist destinations such as the Adirondacks are hoping for higher gas prices and inflation will not affect the return of the pandemic. Lake Placid Sustainable Tourism Regional Office President and CEO Jim McKenna recently spoke with WAMC’s Pat Bradley about the summer season and the World University Games starting in January:
This year, you know, since the beginning of the year, we just found out that we got some results for April last week. And we are actually slightly ahead of our numbers compared to 2021, which turned out to be a record year. So, with the Canadians coming along, as well as the pent-up demand we feel left over from COVID, we think the summer will be strong. Areas of concern are definitely gas. But when we look at it, a tank of gas from New York to the Adirondacks is like one tank. So people should judge for themselves how much this will affect the situation.
What do you think will be the turning point for tourists coming to the area? Because this is the area where they have to drive.
Yeah. Not sure if this is a turning point. But what we’re hearing, what the national travel studies are saying right now, is that they will lower their spending on food and shopping and then on accommodation, but they will still travel. They just won’t spend as much money in these other areas.
So what will this mean for some travel communities? I mean Lake Placid, a lot of shops, and they rely on tourists.
This can certainly have an effect, and we’ve probably already seen this in conversations with some retailers. We know that the occupancy rate was higher, but the retail sales rate was lower. So we’re starting to see that some of these are already happening. How does it go on? You know, you’re combining gas with the way the stock market is going right now, and a lot of people are really worried.
What is going on in some of the smaller communities of the Adirondacks? Have they suffered from this at the moment or are they still doing pretty well in terms of tourism?
Well, it’s too early to talk about it. Indeed, the travel season doesn’t kick into full swing until schools close towards the end of June. So we’ll see that as we go. Right now we expect it to still be busy. The pent-up demand and metropolitan areas that we have near the Adirondacks, be it Utica, Syracuse, Albany, even Canada, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, we have some close to touching all areas of the Adirondacks pretty close.
Speaking of these Canadian cities, how important and how much will it change the opening of the Canadian border?
Well, it depends where you are in the Adirondacks. Some areas are more affected. You look at Plattsburgh, look at Lake George, they stand out as number one for Canadians. Areas like this part of the Adirondacks and maybe some of our more westerly neighborhoods are typically 10 to 12% Canadian. Last couple…