LAKE PLACID — The North Elba Town Council and the Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees will hold a special joint meeting on Thursday to hear a presentation about the new Lake Placid and North Elba Destination Management Plan.
Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO Jim McKenna said the DMP, which looks as far as 2030, mainly deals with managing tourism to the benefit of the community. It’s more “inward-looking” than past DMPs, which mostly aimed to increase tourism here, according to the DMP’s executive summary.
“It’s not a tourism solicitation or marketing program,” McKenna said Monday. “It’s basically, how do you manage a successful tourism economy to the benefit of the community? That’s really what it is.”
The final plan has six objectives with 24 strategies for implementing those objectives. The plan aims to diversify and optimize the local economy; increase long-term resident housing diversity; address environmental sustainability in the region; develop a dedicated event management strategy; align tourism industry investments to benefit everyone; and engage all local and visitor audiences.
Development of the DMP was led by West Vancouver-based consulting firm NextFactor, which specializes in travel and tourism-related plans. ROOST, the town and the village also coordinated to develop the plan. NextFactor Senior Vice President of Innovation Greg Oates, along with ROOST, is expected to attend Thursday’s meeting to present the DMP.
McKenna said ROOST started discussions with NextFactor about the plan in 2020. Results from an initial survey of local elected officials, community leaders and tourism industry stakeholders identified the region’s strengths and opportunities for improvement, and the study revealed challenges that people who live and work here face.
A steering committee — composed of local tourism officials, town and village officials, people associated with the region’s school districts, as well as local law enforcement, health care workers and other community members — was formed in 2021 and met a few times over the year to help guide the destination management planning process. The group helped establish priorities for goals and initiatives for the plan. The NextFactor team also conducted interviews with members of focus groups representing different sectors of the community to get their feedback.
Although the village’s online public notice for the meeting calls the plan a “draft,” McKenna said the plan is finalized.
The town and village boards don’t need to vote to approve the plan, according to North Elba town Supervisor Derek Doty — this week’s meeting is an informational session where the public and the town and village boards can ask Oates questions about the DMP.
McKenna said a lot of destination marketing organizations have broadened their strict focus on destination marketing to include tourism management. That’s a shift ROOST has made in the last few years, he said, adding that the “management” aspect of destination plans like the one developed for the town and village places more focus on how tourism could be leveraged to help tackle community issues like the need for diverse long-term resident housing.
Thursday’s special meeting will be held in the main floor meeting room of the North Elba Town Hall. People can also attend the meeting online at https://meet.goto.com/348269285, or by calling 571-317-3112 and entering the code 348-269-285.
People can read the full 2030 Destination Management Plan on the ROOST website at https://tinyurl.com/mwmhb6sv.
— Lake Placid News Editor Andy Flynn contributed to this report.