OLD FORGE, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) –The pandemic has taken a toll on many, including the tourism industry in Old Forge. As summer comes to a close, let’s take a look at how old forge did this tourism season.
“Business was really good and it was an extension of last year where we didn’t know what to expect with all the restrictions in place because of the pandemic, but we found that this was exactly what people were looking for,” said Mike Farmer, Director of Tourism for the Town of Webb.
Many Old Forge visitors have been spending their summer there since they were kids, and now they’re bringing their grandkids. As Mike says solitude lives 5 minutes from Main Street, and these families have been able to enjoy their usual vacation, but also stay safe and practice social distancing.
“This year we expected as things were starting to open up on a regional level on a state level we were ready we actually created our new normal we looked at what we could do what we were allowed to do and we built on that,” said Farmer.
As everything quiets down after labor day weekend, visitors can transition from visiting the Enchanted Forest Water safari to visiting McCauley Mountain for fall and winter attractions. Although the stream of tourists has not stopped, the main issue hitting Old Forge right now is the decrease in staffing at the restaurants, hotels and retail businesses due to the pandemic. Farmer explains that they will not let this diminish the visitor’s experience.
“Our expectations are built around a double edged sword as we’ve seen this summer staffing is a huge issue and it means that some of our restaurants have cut back hours some days of operation during the week and its affected all of our retail throughout the town and we want to make sure that we don’t deal just in numbers we want the people who come here to have that experience that they’re looking for and a large part of that is from the service industry here. So we know we’ve got the people coming in we want to serve their needs and provide those services that will give them the quality experience,” said Farmer.