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Report assesses economic impact of Lake Placid’s largest summer events

 Lake Placid welcome sign adjacent to the Horse Show grounds
Jane Hooper
Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism
Lake Placid welcome sign adjacent to the Horse Show grounds

A report looking at the economic impacts of Lake Placid’s largest summer events has been released.

The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, or ROOST, contracted with Tourism Economics, a research firm that analyzes tourism-based markets around the world. It has produced a report on the three largest summer events in Lake Placid: the Lake Placid Summit Classic lacrosse tournament, IRONMAN Lake Placid, and the Lake Placid and I Love NY Horse Shows.

Tourism Economics Senior Economist Greg Pepitone reviewed the impact of the individual events from 2022. The Lake Placid Summit Classic’s total economic impact was $15.7 million. IRONMAN generated $15.5 million and the horse shows created a total economic impact of $17.9 million.

Pepitone said they found differences between the event travelers and leisure travelers.

“Generally speaking, the events themselves attract a larger party size and they stay for a longer period of time when compared to a traditional leisure traveler,” said Pepitone. ”And as expected given the longer length of stay, given the larger party size, typically speaking these event travelers have a larger spend per trip than does a typical leisure traveler.”

Pepitone says while some of the large events may disrupt local residents, the event visitors provide a significant economic impact on the area.

“These event visitors, as we just discussed, have a longer length of stay,” Pepitone said. “They typically take more people with them on their trips to Lake Placid and they have an increased spending amount when compared to that traditional leisure traveler. Also some event visitors come multiple times throughout the year. And perhaps most important is event visitors come from outside the traditional traveler market so this helps to increase exposure to the region.”

ROOST Chief Operating Officer Mary Jane Lawrence says the study is part of the creation of a Lake Placid-North Elba Destination Management Plan.

“One of those pillars of that plan is to create a major events strategy for the region so that we can support the events as well as balance the impact and mitigate the impact of the events to the people that live in the communities,” said Lawrence.

Lake Placid – which is likely best known as the site of two Winter Olympic Games – is in the Town of North Elba. Town Supervisor Derek Doty says the study is a good start in understanding the economics of the event-driven region.

“This has been the most asked question in our search to figure out what are our seasons all about,” Doty said. “We can take numbers from this report and we can apply it directly to sales tax revenue across the county which ultimately goes to New York state. This area drives so much more than just North Elba.”