Supporting economic growth, cultural heritage preservation, and ecological conservation in the Lakes to Locks Passage
- Client: Lakes to Locks Passage, Inc.
- Partners: National Geographic Maps Division
- Project Duration: August 2010 – November 2011
The Lakes to Locks Passage encompasses the communities along the interconnected waterway of the Upper Hudson River, Champlain Canal, Lake George, Lake Champlain, and Richelieu River. Linking upstate New York to southern Quebec, the Lakes to Locks Passage contains numerous natural, cultural, historical, and recreational experiences that make it a tourism hotspot. Charming cities, rustic landscapes, and quaint Adirondack hamlets abound in this economically and environmentally important region, yet it has had difficulty reaping benefits from tourism and growing its economy. This difficulty stems from the challenges the region faces in mobilizing, sometimes across country borders, a diverse set of tourism stakeholders to collaborate on the achievement of a common goal. The challenge is organizing those stakeholders to promote the development of geotourism: tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.
In a partnership with National Geographic, Lakes to Locks Passage, Inc. promotes geotourism development and contributes to the region’s competitiveness as a tourism destination by facilitating collaboration between all relevant business owners, local governments, interest groups and residents and helps market the region’s sustainable tourism assets. Solimar assisted in the implementation of key Lakes to Locks Passage Geotourism activities such as the establishment of a Geotourism Stewardship Council and the development of marketing tools and strategies that contribute to the ongoing process of promoting this unique region to the world. The MapGuide presents the Lakes to Locks region to more responsible and educated travelers who will be curious to explore this destination.
The MapGuide solution does not only help create a more positive and distinct image of the region, but also facilitates efficient cooperation among stakeholders in promoting the entire region as an integrated destination. In addition, by focusing on authentic local attractions and service providers, the Mapguide secures increased market visibility for smaller local businesses, which adds to the socio-economic benefits generated by tourism.
- Facilitate relationship building and cooperation: establishment of the Lakes to Locks Passage Geotourism Stewardship Council to oversee and implement geotourism activities in the region.
- Develop Geotourism MapGuide: members of the Geocouncil initiated a process of nominating attractions and tourism service providers, which adhered to geotourism principles. Initial nominations were reviewed and included in the MapGuide while Council members and local stakeholders continue to generate nominations and add to the content of the interactive platform. The Mapguide project has facilitated cooperation among stakeholders in the region, which continues to operate beyond the life of the project.
- Develop online travel tools: continue enriching the Lakes to Locks Geotourism MapGuide with an interactive website that includes trip planning tools and information on the region’s authentic culture, history, and environment.
- Strategic plan for increasing sustainable tourism and competitiveness in the Lakes to Locks Passage
- Establishment of the Lakes to Locks Passage Geotourism Stewardship Council
- Creation and distribution of the Lakes to Locks Passage Geotourism MapGuide
- Creation of a National Geographic co-branded website that provides information on sustainable tourism in the region and serves as a gateway for future geotourism-related solutions