County has expanded tourism guide, promoting more local attractions
ALBION – The Orleans County Tourism Department last week received 40,000 visitor’s guides which will be heading to visitor centers on the Thruway and other welcome centers in New York and Pennsylvania. The guides will also be distributed at sport shows for fishing and outdoor adventure, and also AAA travel shows.
The county usually prints a new visitor guide every two years. But this time the county printed a new guide after one year. The county only has about 150 copies left from the 40,000 guides from a year ago.
The new guide is expanded by 4 pages to 40. The cover promotes “Great Lake Adventure & Canal Town Culture” and shows a fishing boat at sunrise as the dominant photo. The guide also highlights the county’s connections to the Seaway Trail, Erie Canalway Trail and Niagara Wine Trail.
The cover also features a thicker stock of paper to give the guide a higher quality and ensure it stands up throughout the year at the welcome center displays.
“Trust me, print is in,” said Dawn Borchet, the county’s tourism director.
The Tourism Department has the guides at eight locations along the Thruway, the Buffalo and Rochester airports, and other welcome centers in the state and in Pennsylvania. The bigger push to get the guides out seems to be paying off with more tourists to the county. The Tourism Department noted that the bed tax revenues set a new record for Orleans County in 2018 at $51,002. That was up 12.4 percent or $5,628 from the $45,374 in 2017, which was the previous high.
Borchet has been putting the guides at visitor and welcome centers within a 5-hour drive of Orleans County. She has attended many of the travel and sports shows, from Ohio to Massachusetts. She encourages visitors from Pennsylvania to take Route 81 up through the Finger Lakes and head to Orleans. She also finds people who go to Niagara Falls are looking for places to go after seeing that natural wonder. Orleans County is only an hour away.
“Tranquility and serenity,” the Orleans County tourism guides says in its welcome message. “Leave the noise behind and take in the beauty of a waterfront retreat to recharge your batteries.”
The guide touts the county as a best-kept secret.
“We are known for our world-class fishing, our farm fresh produce, award-winning wineries and historic cobblestone and sandstone architecture—a direct benefit from our proximity to Lake Ontario and the historic Erie Canal.”
Lynne Menz, the county’s tourism coordinator, designed the tourism guide. She said the county recently adding more assets that appeal to visitors, including restaurants such as Lures in Kendall, 39 Problems in Albion, Holley Falls Bar & Grill, and Mile 303 in Medina.
“We’re not a big box franchise,” Menz said, and the uniqueness of the local restaurants and businesses is a draw.
When Borchet is at the trade shows, she urges people to go explore off the Thruway.
“We have beautiful towns and villages you can visit,” she said.
She has been at shows for the Campground Owners of New York States, and touts the county’s 1,151 camp sites in Orleans County.
The county’s bed tax is expected to increase with the addition of a new hotel in Medina on Maple Ridge Road, the renovation of the former Bent’s Opera House which includes a boutique hotel, and a hostel in Medina.
The county uses the bed tax to promote tourism in Orleans. If there is more money, Borchet said she would like to have more visitor’s guides and focus more on drawing Canadians to Orleans County.