Monday, December 11, 2023

Sees good, bad in new LG winter attraction

Greetings Chronicle –

In a response to the article “Winter Phenom…” in your recent edition.

I will assume that most of the players in this project will see the futility of attracting tourists to a “contrived attraction.”

The original light trail produced by Moment Factory was constructed in Parc de la Gorge, Coaticook, Quebec in 2014 and called Foresta Lumina. This created a “Tourism Tsunami” — the little town of Coaticook was overwhelmed. Restaurants ran out of food. Parking was at a premium, etc. But the next year they instituted a shuttle bus for visitors, new restaurants opened and the Foresta Lumina was and is a big hit. They have had 150K visitors/year! Read more about it below…

Using Light, Sound, Smoke And Mirrors To Boost A Small Town’s Economy

This phenomenon was recreated somewhat at Mt. Tremblant (also in Quebec) and Called Tonga Lumina.

Moment Factory has constructed additional lighted trails across Canada at Whistler Mt. and others.

I would suggest the board do a lot more research by visiting some of the current installations — especially Foresta Lumina.

Also — look-up the Trip Advisor reviews on a number of them.

The Tremblant installation has plenty of problems detailed in the reviews, link below. Also, all these installations are on forest trails not really at a man-made venue like the Fort William Henry. It may prove to be a significant undoing.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g182183-d12699766-Reviews-Tonga_Lumina-Mont_Tremblant_Quebec.html#REVIEWS

I would offer that Lake George would do better to install Winter Recreation venues for sledding, ice skating, and skiing.

Visitors want activities TO DO, not necessarily just activities TO WATCH.

A large refrigerated ice rink in Wood Park would be a good start, as evidence by the popularity of the speed skating oval in Lake Placid. Snow making technology has advanced considerably in the last decade making even warm weather venues (like Lake George) a viable place to make snow for sledding, and skiing.

Lastly — regardless of any popularity — winter season hotel stays in Lake George are very challenging for owners. The cost of heating and other utilities is enormous.

I worked at one of the large Summer Hotels in Lake George and we would have 90 rooms in-house for some winter carnival weekends (when we stayed open in winter). Sounds great, ‘till the National Grid bill showed up totally evaporating that revenue and then some.

Off-season hotel rates are also significantly lower than Summer season rates — $300+/night Summer rates can drop to $79/night and lower.
I have no doubt that this light show will be popular and might even be profitable but with no backbone winter activities to entertain visitors it’s effect and this investment will be transitory.

— Richard Carlson, North River

Coalition: Colossal event will bolster all

Dear Editor:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Mr. Carlson and share more information about the careful due diligence our coalition has done to ensure that Moment Factory’s wintertime attraction in Lake George is a success for our community.

The bottom line: These attractions are enormously popular — and with popularity comes challenge — but at the end of the day, they provide a major boost to the winter economy, a benefit to many local employees, and wonderful memories for our visitors.

Coaticook, Quebec, with fewer than 10,000 people, engaged Moment Factory in 2014 to create a lighted forest attraction. Coaticook hit “a tourism geyser,” the New Hampshire Business Review reported, noting attendance grew from 72,000 in the first year to 156,000 in 2016.

Mayor Bertrand Lamoreaux was quoted: “It has been very, very, very good.” “The two motels as well as bed and breakfasts are full, the restaurants busy and shops are doing well.”

A TripAdvisor reviewer noted some parking and administrative challenges but said the attraction “was absolutely stunning and magical…a totally unique experience.”
Visitor safety and convenience are our top priority. We want to make this attraction so appealing, so fun and so easy to enjoy that visitors will want to return with their families again and again.

We agree that the Warren County/Lake George region already is blessed with wonderful opportunities for ice skating, skiing, tubing, snowboarding sledding, snowmobiling, hiking, and snowshoeing — not to mention cultural activities — and we’re all for expanding them. But visitors need to know that, regardless of the weather, there will always be something fun for them to do here in the winter. That’s why we need a resilient, anchor attraction, a wintertime destination. We believe Moment Factory will help us achieve that.

— Vincent Crocitto Jr., President
Warren County Winter Coalition

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