Local tourism off to slow start this Memorial Day Weekend

WWNY Local tourism off to slow start this Memorial Day Weekend

ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s Memorial Day Weekend which usually means a spike in tourists to the area. But, this year, the season is shaping up to be a bit slower.

There are boats out on the St. Lawrence River at the start of Memorial Day Weekend.

But according to Uncle Sam Boat Tour's owner Ron Thomson, his fleet won't be among them for at least a few more weeks.

"We're completely closed down," he said.

And Thomson says as far as Memorial Day Weekends in Alexandria Bay go, "This is incredibly slow. There's no way to describe it actually.

The slow start could end up being a slow tourism season.

Corey Fram of the Thousand Islands International Tourism Council says Jefferson County will take in around $268 million in visitor spending in a typical year.

"That includes not only leisure spending, but also second home spending and those kinds of things," he said.

A number Fram says will take a hit because of COVID-19.

"It's definitely going to be lower just because we are not able to offer up all the revenue generators that we normally would be in a given year," he said.

The Canadian border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least June 21.

Bonnie Castle Resort and Marina Sales and Marketing Manager Adam Taylor says they're seeing the effects.

"We have seen, obviously, a significant decline in our Canadian visitors," he said.

As the state gradually reopens, Fram says a gradual ramping up of tourism is needed.

"We're going to look at trying to assist with moving people around Jefferson County and around this north country region first," he said.

It's an approach Taylor says Bonnie Castle has prepared for.

“We’ve already spaced everything out. We’ve already looked at what it’s going to be like if its 25 percent capacity, 50 percent capacity,” he said.

The good news, officials say that while the region will take a hit in tourism dollars, it could be much worse.

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.