LAKE GEORGE — Businesses reported a strong tourism season boosted by a good weather and aggressive promotion of the region.
Gina Mintzer, executive director of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce, said it has been a great summer.
“Weather has really cooperated well for us,” she said.
She said anecdotally she has heard from businesses such as The Docksider Restaurant on Glen Lake that it has been a record-breaking year.
“They said this is the best season in 20 years,” she said.
Mintzer attributed the great season to a strong economy and continued marketing of the region through the chamber and Warren County Tourism Department.
Some businesses reported a slower start to the season. Mintzer said there was a slow week in July right after the July 4 holiday.
The other trend is for shorter-duration stays, according to Mintzer.
“They’re not coming for a week at a clip. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday is still pretty quiet,” she said.
The region sees a lot of visitors from downstate and New Jersey, but is also drawing from Massachusetts, particularly Boston, and Connecticut.
There were also a lot of Canadian tourists. Mintzer said that there was concern at the beginning of the season whether issues over security would cause backups at the border.
Martha’s Dandee Cream also has seen a lot of Canadian visitors and reported a strong summer.
“Things have been great here,” said General Manager Emily Cloran. “I think we’ve been as busy, if not busier, than last year.”
Businesses live and die by the weather.
“The hot weather in July brought in a lot of business,” said Sally Wilson, a sales associate for Shady Business on Canada Street. The store sells bathing suits, towels, pool accessories, toys and other away-from-home items.
Laura Fahey, a manager for the Moose Tooth Grill, also attributed an increase in business to better weather.
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“Our sales have been up pretty much every day,” she said.
Fahey said she also has noticed an increase in the number of visitors from the South and more large groups including bachelorette parties and weddings.
Abby Landon, an associate with the Adirondack Winery Tasting Room, also said there is a lot of group business. It has been busier overall than last year, which she attributed to aggressive social media marketing and word of mouth.
She also noticed an uptick in business on Monday and Tuesday when there was no racing at Saratoga.
Anna Weiskopf, of Clifton Park, was part of a bachelorette party that was enjoying a wine tasting. Weiskopf said the organizers decided to come to Lake George because of its beautiful mountains and lake.
The group is staying at an Airbnb in North Creek.
The short-term rentals market could be taking away from traditional hoteliers. Steve Puricelli, owner of the Lake Motel, said his business is ahead of last year. He said he is a good location next to the lake and has upgraded his facility with amenities such as an outdoor fire pit.
However, the season started out slower because of rainy weather and it is a down year for the industry as a whole based upon travel websites such as Expedia and Bookings.com.
More hotels have been built in the area including down at Saratoga and that has sliced the pie further, according to Puricelli.
“There’s a thousand more rooms per month in Lake George and there’s less traffic. There’s less rooms being rented,” he said.
Another trend is recreational tourism. Mintzer said activities continue to be a trend including parasailing and hiking which continue to be popular.
Because the high peaks are getting very congested, they are looking for other activities, according to Mintzer.
“As people get pushed out of there, I think they’re also discovering us,” she said.
Families are doing activities together, according to Mintzer. It could be as simple as miniature golf.
Woodworks Furniture Gallery and Design owner Diane Densmore also thought it started out slower this year because of rainy weather, but the season rebounded nicely.
Lake George is widely known for its beauty and its activities continue to draw visitors.
“It’s very family oriented,” she said.