Lake Placid Continues Destination Management Planning | News, Sports, Jobs
LAKE PLACID – This community’s Destination Management Plan Steering Committee met virtually for the second time on Monday to hear an update from Greg Oates, senior vice president of innovation at MMGY NextFactor, the travel consultant from West Vancouver, BC, hired to draft the plan.
Since their first meeting on May 4, the Steering Committee members have given Oates and his team time to research, speak with focus groups and gather feedback. The second meeting revealed many of these findings and some key takeaways. Nothing has been finalized yet, and MMGY NextFactor will be gathering more information from other discussion groups ahead of a public forum in October.
The meeting was hosted by the Regional Office for Sustainable Tourism, which facilitates the destination management planning process for the Village of Lake Placid and the Town of North Elba.
The objective of a destination master plan is to ensure the quality of life for residents and the quality of the place for visitors.
The drafting of the plan comprises five phases: initiation, research and analysis; assess and map the sector; industry and community engagement; visualization workshop (public forum to provide community feedback on the proposed plan); and plan development and delivery.
Comments collected so far include the following:
??“I fully understand that we are a tourist town, but people here feel like the locals are the last in the reshuffle.”
??“A lot of people feel inaudible. There is a lot of discord and resentment.
??“We all need to agree that we are a tourist economy and face it.”
??“We need more education on the value of tourism, including how it funds community services. The Arts Center wouldn’t exist without tourists.
Focus groups that were interviewed are accommodation and short-term rentals; arts, culture and heritage; outdoor recreation; and sports tourism.
Pending interviews are with landowners; economic, community and non-profit organizations; food and drink; and meetings, festivals and events.
Arts and culture
Some of the notes from the arts and culture focus group are listed below.
¯ Develop the region as a destination for artistic experiences, and not just for outdoor recreation and sporting events.
¯Possibilities to improve public works of art (murals, sculptures, etc.) with which the community and visitors can interact. Support existing organizations working towards these goals.
Take advantage of the influx of wealth during the tourist season to find new sources of funding for artistic projects and educational initiatives throughout the year.
¯ A larger performance hall would accommodate larger shows, which would improve the ability to attract people to events.
Funding is essential to both initiate and maintain art. Funding! Recruitment!
¯Find new connections with the hospitality industry to create new places for the arts. Events such as a fair reaching outdoor events, artist studio tours.
Accommodation and short-term rentals
Some of the focus group notes on accommodation and short-term rental are listed below.
STRs can provide additional income to residents more efficiently. STR Compliance and Enforcement… the lines of communication between STRs and neighbors… balance the conversation around STRs and how they provide a second source of income for those who live in the community.
Labor shortages must be corrected. Develop a network of housing providers for local staff. Need a more structured network of housing providers so everyone knows who to call. Consult the list of non-traditional housing providers as a community service and community hub.
¯ There is a strong demand for accommodation of all types. A good mix is best to attract a diverse group of visitors.
LGBTQ travelers. The itinerant work of home workers is a new audience to capture. Midweek travelers.
¯ New housing offers investment opportunities. The community is oversized when it comes to hosting.
Some of the Sport Tourism Focus Group Notes are listed below.
The events should be organized in the shoulder months around… need to nurture and support the events we have… they are happening. Do not put roadblocks.
World cup level mountain biking. We have amazing trails and sites and we are hardly known. The seasons of spring and fall are outside the crisis and they take advantage of several cities.
The Adirondack Rail Trail will open the region to exponential growth in bicycle tourism and help alleviate the overuse and congestion of trails in the high peaks.
¯Up-to-date facilities for College Games, youth and women’s sports, family events.
¯Van Ho also has great potential for mountain biking and cross-country cycling (CX) as a venue. Develop Whiteface past the Alpine, downhill.
¯The horse show grounds and other grounds have the possibility of accommodating other sports. Fishing tournaments at the pro level. Water sports at Lake Placid.
¯How about a series of sports lectures? Bring pros… cycling, golf, etc. to stay and talk.
¯ Sports nutrition and training center for athletes. Create a SUNY branch focused on sports medicine, health and nutrition. Develop an athletic institute to lead sports nutrition, psychology, training and research.
I think we need better and clearer communication (website) that directs people in and out of specific routes (roads and trails) for cycling. Our roads and trails can be intimidating.
¯Railroad trailhead at Lake Placid and Saranac Lake could be upgraded. The Lake Placid Masonic Lodge and the old Saranac Lake Station are great opportunities for end-to-end destinations.
Let’s get more regional championship events here. Soccer, field hockey, ultimate frisbee.
Some of the outdoor recreation focus group notes are listed below.
Better trail infrastructure. paths connecting cities… systems. More mountain bike trails. Create… cycle paths, in particular Wesvalley Road and Old Military Road.
¯Financing for trail and frontcountry infrastructure. funding for bicycle and pedestrian connectivity.
Create more and better access to Crown land. The state has made significant acquisitions and now needs to create better access and trails. Peaks without trails need well-groomed trails with foreland infrastructure.
¯From hamlets to Cabins, sustainable hikes exploring less frequented paths.
¯To be a sustainable community, we need to step up recycling and composting efforts, especially with commercial businesses.
¯Adapt to climate change affecting winter recreation.
There are six key takeaways from the initial focus group interviews.
1. Balancing community and industry development around aligned goals: Balancing community needs and tourism industry growth by increasing community engagement and education to inform and align tourism and economic development decisions. Tourism is not the end goal. It is a pipeline to support the priorities of the community.
2. Diversify the economy by encouraging investment in key sectors: Develop middle-income households and diversify the economy by supporting the growth of professional services based on areas of local expertise. And expand middle income opportunities and diversify the economy by supporting the growth of professional services based on areas of local expertise.
3. Build a global center of excellence in outdoor recreation for all ages: Leverage investments in University Games and a 100-year legacy in sport tourism to maximize outdoor recreation opportunities for all residents and visitors throughout the year.
4.Support creative and cultural communities to drive visitor spending: invest in arts, culture, food and drink, music, media and entertainment, non-sporting events and the creative community to uplift and diversify the quality of life of residents and disperse visitors to more areas during more times of the year. This defines the meaning of the place.
5. Develop a data-driven content ecosystem for residents and visitors: Develop and enhance visitor and community content to attract more small businesses and local organizations, and strengthen the global destination brand.
6. Prioritize the long-term quality of life of all residents and the workforce: take a holistic approach to increase housing diversity and child care subsidies to attract a wide range of local labor and remote workers of all skill levels.
The next step
The town hall, to be held in October, will be open to all residents and local stakeholders. Updated takeaways from research and community engagement will be reviewed. And residents will be able to express themselves on a first overview of the destination management strategies developed to date. In addition, the public will be interviewed using a web tool to prioritize strategies.