By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Otsego County’s tourism efforts are being refocused on outdoor activities, fall weddings and vaccinated out-of-state residents, according to a presentation given to the Otsego County Board of Representatives at its May meeting.
Harrington addressed the Representatives at their meeting, which was held via Zoom, because of the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday, May 5.
She said the group is looking to increase late summer and fall tourism in an effort to boost 2021 bed tax money.
Harrington said her group, which was spun off from the county in 2014 and added Schoharie County as a client two years ago, has shifted to a virtual campaign, allowing it to add several promotional categories and “pages” to its promotional materials.
DMC is launching an outdoor activities website that culls information and links to all the other county locations for hiking, boating, fishing, winter sports and more. Those sites include state parks, Otsego 2000’s Otsego Outdoors website, information about playgrounds, camp sites, hotels and more.
It will launch seasonal campaigns, too: around baseball for the summer, around the leaves and craft food and beverages in the fall, and around outdoor activities in the winter.
Harrington said the area tourism businesses are still smarting from Dreams Park cancellations and some are closing up their accommodations for the year rather than adjusting to rentals of stays less than a week at a time. She said there are certain segments of the tourism economy that are doing better than others, including outdoor activities. She said fall weddings have been spiking as 15 months of pent-up demand overflows into the fall calendar.
Harrington said her group has been continuing its efforts and ad buys despite knowing that its own budget will take a big hit when 2020 bed tax money – there was none, because of the pandemic – is figured into the three-year average that determines the organization’s funding level. She said the reduction to the 2022 budget would be $224,000.
Harrington said she hopes the representatives would continue to promote DMC to their constituents, saying business sometimes refused free listings and links and getting them to accept help was an on-going challenge.
“Our services are provided to tourism businesses by way of the occupancy tax, at no cost to the businesses themselves,” she said.
The meeting and presentation can be viewed on the county’s Facebook page. Go to www.thisiscooperstown.com for more information.
In other business Wednesday, the board: Unanimously approved, as part of a consent agenda, the purchase of 37 Axon body cameras for sheriff’s deputies and some corrections officers at a price not to exceed $36,000. Rep. Daniel Wilber, R-Burlington, Edmeston, Exeter, Plainfield, who chairs the Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee, told the board the department’s old body cameras were outdated.