Akwesasne Mohawk Casino hosts tourism committee


MALONE — Presentations about existing promotions and planning for future ones are the focus of today’s Franklin County Tourism Advisory Committee meeting.

The panel’s monthly session was set for 8:30 a.m. at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort, where members would hear from Ad Workshop about a promotional-passport program similar to the Lake Placid Winter Passport.

That offer gives deep discounts on admission, activities and merchandise when visitors stop by the community’s variety of Olympic sites.


Fawn Tatro, the county’s tourism administrator, said the committee believes Franklin County sites can be promoted the same way to draw more tourism dollars.

She recently submitted a grant-proposal application for a similar promotion to the North Country Regional Economic Development Council in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The passport program in the Adirondacks would extend to the Thousand Islands region as a way to cross-promote tourism venues across the North Country.

The funding application included campaigns for paddling, motorcycling, fishing and a marketing campaign in Canada, as well as a blog and familiarization tour and hospitality training, she said. 


Committee members will also get an update from the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) on its usage of a $25,000 stipend that the County Legislature approved earlier this year to promote Saranac Lake and to provide an overview of tourism trends.

Tatro said each committee member was asked to bring a list today of the top three trends they see.

“For instance, Stephanie Radcliff was saying the number of visitors at the Wild Center has stayed the same, but the money being spent is down,” she said. 

“People may not be spending at the gift shop as much as they were.”


The committee is also working out details of its 2014 tourism campaign and the 2014 budget as it awaits word on whether the County Legislature will renew its efforts to gain State Legislature permission to create a 5 percent occupancy fee to fund tourism-related programs and services.

Estimates are that $350,000 to $400,000 would be collected annually through the bed tax.

The Senate and Assembly would have to pass bills on the measure, which would then require the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo under Municipal Home Rule — the legislation would allow the county to charge the additional fee, which would be policed by the County Treasurer’s Office.

In addition to Radcliff, who represents attractions on the committee, members include Lesley Lyon, owner of Sunday Pond Bed and Breakfast in Lake Clear; Derek Sprague of the Malone Golf Club; Julian Hutton, manager of The Point in Tupper Lake; Bruce Monette, owner of Titus Mountain Family Ski Center; Chris LaBarge, owner of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Malone; Michelle Clement, events coordinator for Tupper Lake; Gil Paddock of Deer River Campsite in Malone; and Patrick Bassney of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort.

Email Denise A.