Country club awaits city bypass traffic

Country club awaits city bypass traffic

BORDERED by New England, Pennsylvania and Canada's Lake Ontario region, New York State gets little of the attention enjoyed by the Big Apple city of the same name.

New York is the magnet but the actual state receives little rub-off, except for passing tour traffic taking in the triangle of Toronto, Niagara and New England.

Despite the growing interest in independent self-drive, operators say the state is being bypassed due to lack of destination marketing needed to compete in the highly-competitive US Northeast sector.

Premier Holidays North America general manager Rob Haynes said New York State needed to do more to promote itself because only about 1% of the operator's clients ventured beyond Manhattan.

He compared it with the Capital Region which he said had made a considerable impact on the UK market through joint advertising ventures with tour operators and travel agent training sessions.

American Connections featured the state in a three-page section of its brochure five years ago but drew little response due to its general lack of exposure, according to managing director Mike Carter.

He said: "We only got a handful of bookings as people tend to drive straight through Upper New York State. They prefer to combine New York with the Niagara region or Toronto with New England. These areas are all very well promoted and have a lot of product featured in UK brochures."

Travel 4 product manager Louise Davis agreed that New York State needed to fund more promotion in the UK market in order to increase exposure. She said: "Only a small proportion of business filters through to areas beyond New York City. This is basically a lack of awareness on the part of both consumers and the trade.

"There has been very little attempt to promote the attractions of the state to either group and this is something that the tourism authorities need to address if visitors are to start exploring beyond the city in any numbers."

The State has received most of its UK business from coach tours where New York City has been positioned as a gateway to New England, according to Davis.

"The resulting through traffic has led to an increase in visitors for towns like Lake George, Albany and Lake Placid. There is a great deal of historical interest to be found in New York State but major promotion is the only way of realising its potential," she said.

The state's major areas of interest are all no more than 2hrs-4hrs' driving distance of New York City, and include the Hudson Valley and state capital Albany. The city is widely-viewed as one of the most scenically beautiful in the US and its natural attributes have inspired a huge artist movement.

Although a day-trip possibility from New York City, the region is known for its colonial country inns, recreational resorts and character bed and breakfasts, which add to the appeal of a longer stay. In addition, the Catskill Mountains offer leisurely back-country road driving and laidback pursuits such as fly-fishing and pleasurable hiking trails in an area known as the Borscht Belt where the resorts once catered for wealthy Jewish families holidaying from the Big Apple.

Thirty miles north of Albany is Saratoga Springs, one of the oldest summer playgrounds of American high society, and to the northwest the rugged mountains, huge forests and abundant lakes and streams of the Adirondack Park.

Anchored by the resort towns of Lake Placid and Lake George, the area attracts summer and wintersports enthusiasts.

Other worthy points include the Finger Lakes region, the elegant Victorian city of Buffalo and the 50-mile Chautauqua Wine Trail along the shores of Lake Erie.

Quintessential rural America is still to be found in so-called Leatherstocking Country some 200 miles from the bustle of New York City. It got its name from the early Yankees who dressed in leather leggings and worked the land in this region of gently-rolling countryside and small ruralcommunities.

New York State

Kuoni: offers stays and touring in Lake Placid as part of several fall foliage escorted tours based on Boston and New York gateways. Durations are eight and 12 days with prices from £1,798.

British Airways Holidays: features stays in New York and Buffalo in an 11-day Eastern Discovery escorted itinerary, with flights to and from New York, from £1,089 during September. Self-drive including Lake Placid from £959 in October for 15 days.

Virgin Holidays: several escorted coach tours take in part of New York State, including Corning and Lake Placid. Durations are for nine and 15 days, with the shorter tour costing from £999 in October; coach tour only, £660.

Getaway Vacations: five-day ex-New York escorted coach package taking in Corning and Lake Placid for £215 tour only plus four nights accommodation.

Travelpack: two new self-drive tours - Northeast Impressions (13 days) and Highlights of the East (nine days) - include stays in Albany and other parts of New York State. Twinshare prices are from £440 and £315 respectively and include accommodation only, with car and flights extra.


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