Even for area residents, Lake George is a destination in the summertime. The impact on the region’s economy is undeniable. Local businesses count on tourist traffic.
Unlike other years, there is a new trend emerging in tourism.
Michael Consuelo, executive director of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce, said visitors seem to be booking motel reservation further ahead, “whereas in the last few years, visitations were pretty much weather-dependent. If the forecast called for good weather, the calls came in for availability one to two days prior to their arrival.”
“We will always be–to some–a one day trip,” he said. “The population [that lives close by] tend to come up and enjoy our beautiful lake and region for the day. However, with the future success of the new Festival Commons at the Charles R. Wood Park, we may see those folks coming up for a festival, concert, craft show and such, and stay for a night or two.”
The hotels and motels are solidly booked.
“The hotels saw very good occupancy during” the Elvis Festival and Americade, he said The Chamber anticipated high occupancy for the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Convention in mid-June.
“Our members are telling us that they are pretty much on pace with last year and are looking for a busy year,” Consuelo said.
This year there are two new hotels strategically positioned within the village that are expected to make their debut.
“The new Marriott Courtyard and the renovation and semi-expansion of the Surfside Resort are truly welcome to our community,” Consuelo said. “The Surfside, while the older section is open, is hoping to have the new addition ready for occupancy very soon. Some finishing touches and they will be good to go.”
The Marriott is still being developed and will hopefully open its’ doors by mid to late July, he said.
Lake George tourism also strives to be relevant during the winter.
“I do not think that at any time did the Lake George Chamber of Commerce ever say we were not a year-round destination,” Consuelo said. “Indeed, while some of the businesses did close for the winter months, there were others that saw the value of being open for skiing, snowmobiling, winter carnival and all other activities related to winter.”
He said with the new Marriott will have meeting and conference facilities and be able to bring in conventions and business during fall and winter months.
“We believe that more of the businesses are going to re-consider closing right after the summer,” Consuelo said. “We at the Chamber are targeting groups that traditionally meet between October to April to now take a look at what is going on in Lake George.”
Work is being done on the strip of Route 9, south of the village–the entry way to Lake George for many–to make it more appealing.
“The wonderful work that is being done along the corridor of Route 9 from Northway Exit 21 to the village will be a welcome for both visitors and residents as there will be new sidewalks, turn-ins and turn-outs, a median or two, benches, cycling lanes–all making this corridor much more pedestrian friendly and to the visitor ‘a sense of arrival,'” Consuelo said.
“If a tourist cannot find something fun to do while here in Lake George we may have a problem,” he said.
“We have the best combination of water, mountains, scenic roads, extensive bike trails, great restaurants, lodging properties, attractions and much more all within driving distance from a four to five hour radius,” Consuelo said. “We are just a tank full of gas away. The lake grows on our visitor which make him or her come back more than once.”