Thursday, October 30, 2014

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Groups explore new ways to attract tourists to the great outdoors

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Groups explore new ways to attract tourists to the great outdoors
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Many tourism groups are going the extra mile to bring travelers to their region. YNN's Sarah Blazonis stopped by the New York Sportsmans Expo and she tells us how they're trying to appeal to outdoor lovers.

GEDDES, N.Y. -- The sights and sounds of the New York Sportsmans Expo brought thousands of visitors to the State Fairgrounds this weekend.

Exhibitors like Chris Kenyon hoped to give them some ideas for their next trip.

"Our whole northern border's on Lake Ontario. So primarily, we're sport fishing," said Kenyon, the outdoor recreation promoter with Wayne County Tourism.

And while all of the tourism groups at the expo were handing out their traditional literature and visitors guides, many said it won't be long before all visitors have to do is pick up their smart phones to get even more access to what their region has to offer.

"Almost everyone has a smart phone, so we really need to be able to provide access for them to our information," said Kelly Jordal, a public information officer with Oswego County Tourism.

Oswego County Tourism recently launched an app to complement the area's popular snowmobiling industry.

"That will give them an idea about on the trails where they can find amenities such as restaurants, lodging, gas stations," said Jordal.

Wayne County and 1000 Islands tourism groups say they also have apps in the works.

Empire State Development says outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and camping brought $53.9 billion into the state in 2011. Those funds are why groups say it's critical to continue evolving how they reach out to potential visitors both outside the state and within New York.

"It seems that even though the economy is a little bit down, everybody's traveling closer within the state for the natural beauty in the area," said Judy Agar, distribution manager with 1000 Islands International Tourism Council.

But whether it's salmon fishing in Wayne County, boating in the St. Lawrence River or enjoying a snowy Oswego day, some say the old fashioned approach to promoting their regions isn't going away.

"The cost effect versus, say, putting an ad in a newspaper or magazine, can't beat it for making contact with people," said Kenyon.

And hopefully turning them into repeat visitors.

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