FINGER LAKES, N.Y. (WROC) — Bob Provost, President of New York State Tourism Industry Association says the pandemic has affected the industry – severely.
“We’re not allowed to have large events, we had no hall of fame induction, no state or county fairs, no Broadway,” he said. While this is a loss of billions of dollars – as reported by the country’s premier economic analysts, Tourism Economics, Provost says there’s a silver lining.
“The roads less traveled, the less densely populated destinations are enjoying an economic benefit,” he said.
Some of those ‘roads less traveled’ include the Finger Lakes Region. Carol Mathers and Martina Wismer own Another World Bed and Breakfast in Naples. They say once the state started opening back up in June, people were calling and calling to reserve a spot.
“At first with the pandemic – there was nothing, no guests. Then when Gov. Cuomo opened the state and people start traveling a little, we saw an influx of people from the local areas, Buffalo, Rochester, even Naples,” Mathers said. “People wanted to get away for a bit from the family, from the kids, and being quarantined.”
The bed and breakfast occupies 20 acres of land.
“At first it kind of hit us like a firetruck, because people were really calling and calling and calling so that was good,” said Wismer.
The two say their guests want to feel secure about traveling – and accommodating that need became a significant part of business.
“We have several areas where we serve breakfast, we stagger breakfast times,” said Wismer. “We sanitize all the time … people feel safe here and they tell us over and over.”
Lori Defurio owns an Airbnb in Seneca Falls. She says she is more booked this season than any other year.
“Believe it or not, this year is the year I’m more booked than any other year,” she said. DeFurio said things usually slow by the time Labor Day wraps up, but not this year. “I’m booked every weekend in Sept., Oct. and now even Nov., people are still wanting to get away for a weekend.”
Airbnb reported that on Labor Day Weekend, U.S. travelers ventured more to remote areas – accounting for 30% of booked trips. That’s almost double the share compared to last year for the company.
“I do believe there’s a lot of people that aren’t getting in airplanes like they used to, they just jump in a car, and say ‘how far can I go, where can I go,’” said DeFurio.
So what is drawing people out to the Finger Lakes Region, especially?
“The water, it’s all about the water, either the lakes, waterfalls down at Taughannock Falls,” said DeFurio.
“Snowmobiles wildlife, we look out our window and see deer and wild turkey,” said Mather.
The women say while they are expecting business to go steady into the colder months, they’re hoping their success can in turn help turnout for neighboring restaurants and businesses.