Local tourism leaders hope that some special Memorial Day weekend visitors to the region will open up a whole new tourism market.
The Warren County Tourism Department was one of a number of agencies from around the region and state that took a group of seven travel leaders from major Chinese cities on “familiarity” tours around New York over the past week.
The group of seven spent parts of six days in the Catskills and Adirondacks, with the tail end of the Adirondack portion of the tour spent in Lake George and Glens Falls.
Tanya Brand, group tour promoter for Warren County Tourism Department, said Chinese visitors historically have traveled to New York City and Niagara Falls, and tourism leaders are trying to show there is more to the state than those two ends of it. The Chinese market is the fastest-growing market for tourism, she said.
“We know they are visiting New York City. It is our goal to lure them north,” said Joanne Conley, Warren County’s tourism director.
In Lake George, the group was taken to the top of Prospect Mountain and for a ride on the Minne Ha Ha tour boat, while they also visited the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, Whiteface Mountain in the Lake Placid area and Saratoga Spa State Park.
They ended their stay with a tour of Glens Falls and dinner at Aroy Dee restaurant. They also took a walking tour of Glens Falls with Mayor Dan Hall and Glens Falls Tourism Coordinator Amy Collins and were impressed with the “quaintness” of Glens Falls, Brand said.
“They were tired, but they got a good feel for the region,” Brand said.
The visitors from China gathered Tuesday morning to end their tour after a night’s stay at The Queensbury Hotel, where they heard from a variety of state tourism leaders during a presentation called “China Ready.” A number of tourism representatives from around the Adirondacks attended.
Gina Mintzer, executive director for the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, said meeting with the Chinese organizers and finding out things such as what type of culinary and technological needs guests from China will have, will help the region cater to new visitors.
“It was really educational and informative,” she said.
Top Dong, director of I Love New York China, underscored to the group during Tuesday’s presentation that New York is much more than just New York City, with plenty to see and do upstate.
“The objective is quite clear, to try to attract more visitors from China,” Dong said.