Franklin County creates tourism committee

MALONE – Franklin County legislators last week created a new committee to advise the county how to market the region for tourism.

The Tourism Advisory Committee will be a group of nine people who are supposed to “develop, approve and facilitate the implementation of the strategic marketing plan” for the county. The plan will need approval from county legislators.

“We’ve changed the way we do business as far as tourism in Franklin County,” Legislator Paul Maroun, R-Tupper Lake, said as the board passed the resolution creating the committee.

The idea behind the TAC is to use people who work in business or the tourism industry to suggest how the county markets itself, rather than having the county’s marketing program be entirely government-driven.

The TAC will consist of nine people: two representatives from the accommodations industry, one from an attraction, one from the recreation industry, one who represents retail and restaurants, one from camping and one who represents a tourist home, inn, cottages, condominiums, vacation rental or a bed and breakfast.

The board also decided earlier this month to add two more members to the committee, both at-large representatives to allow for a wider range of relevant specialties.

That makes nine members, a number legislators like better than the seven suggested earlier. They want all legislators to be involved in picking the whole committee, rather than each legislator feeling the need to appoint one representative from his or her district, as many committees work.

“I like the way this has turned out,” said Legislator Tim Burpoe, D-Saranac Lake.

The law creating the TAC states that at least one of the TAC members has to come from the Saranac Lake area and at least one has to come from the Tupper Lake area. Maroun and Burpoe pushed for those stipulations in the resolution, since the southern end of the county – the part that lies in the Adirondack Park – is more reliant on tourism than the northern end is.

The TAC was originally discussed as part of a proposed bill that would institute a bed tax in Franklin County, so the county has a plan for the use of the proceeds of the tax. But legislators said the TAC will be a useful tool regardless of whether the bed tax goes into effect or not.

Each legislator is supposed to bring at least three names for potential appointment to the TAC to their next regular meeting, on Thursday, April 4, when the board will sift through the suggestions.