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Technical Assistance Center Helps Tourism Promotion Agencies

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The Adirondacks - North Country region is a world-class destination for travelers, according to the tourism professionals responsible for marketing the region.

The Technical Assistance Center (TAC) at SUNY Plattsburgh is helping the industry evaluate how successful it is in attracting visitors.

Howard Lowe, director of TAC, said that research that involves the faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh helps counties in the North Country evaluate the effectiveness of tourism initiatives and the economic impact of tourists on the region.

"When I came to TAC, I saw the growing Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) Program and reached out to them," said Lowe. "Two members of the faculty were indeed interested in researching regional tourism."

So far, TAC has teamed up with David Hensarling, lecturer in HRTM, to do a hotel feasibility study for Ticonderoga.

TAC has also worked with John Parmelee, lecturer in HRTM, and the Lake Placid/Essex County Convention and Visitors Bureau on several studies including a two-year analysis of its national marketing campaign and an economic impact and competitor profile study of the annual Ironman event.

"This is a fascinating opportunity to research cutting edge tourism industry market information on a regional level," said Parmelee. "By doing this, we are accomplishing three important objectives. First, from an industry perspective we are developing very useful information for future use in regional tourism related development. A second beneficial feature is the practical integration of this research into the classroom. And the third objective of this work is to integrate the resources of the SUNY Plattsburgh School of Business and Economics, and the department of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism management within the area tourism economy."

Lowe said that an economic impact study for the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) is also under way. Parmelee and Jim Murphy, economic development specialist at TAC, will work together on this study.

"TAC is beginning to be recognized as a resource for tourism promotion agencies in the North Country," said Lowe. "This work is consistent with our mission and strategic plan -- we're creating partnerships in the community, research opportunities for faculty and learning opportunities for students."


Lowe has also been working on tourism-related projects through his role as president of the board of directors for Lakes to Locks Passage, Inc.  As president, he has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Conference Regionale Des Elus de la Monteregie Est, or CRE, (the Regional Conference of Elected Officials in Eastern Monteregie, Southern Quebec).
This agreement is the result of several years of discussions with individuals in Quebec to establish a formal relationship for cross-border tourism promotion.

Lakes to Locks Passage is a non-profit organization that works on regional tourism development and is designated a National Scenic Byway, which is located in five counties in New York including Saratoga, Washington, Warren, Essex and Clinton. The byway is one of 21 all-American roads.

"The byway program fostered the development of a multi-jurisdictional organization for grass-roots community development that is admired by many in Quebec as an excellent venue for this type of initiative," said Lowe. "This is an exciting opportunity for all or us and a concrete way to implement our plans for establishing a truly international tourism destination."

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