CANTON -- With the 2024 Great North American Total Eclipse just under two months away, the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce encourages businesses and communities to prepare for a potential …
CANTON -- With the 2024 Great North American Total Eclipse just under two months away, the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce encourages businesses and communities to prepare for a potential influx of visitors to the county by participating in planning and preparedness efforts within local communities.
“We can’t predict how many visitors will come to our area, but we can and should be prepared to put our best foot forward in the event that we do have an influx of tourists who might be coming here for the first time,” explains Tiffani Amo, Interim Director of Tourism for the STLC Chamber.
“It’s a rare and special celestial event that we get to witness with front-row seats, and we want to make sure that it’s a safe and memorable experience for whoever happens to be here, whether that’s just our local kids, families and residents who will be out of school or off work early, or any number of visitors driving over from Canada or surrounding areas.”
Residents may ask why eclipse-chasers would choose St. Lawrence County over popular destinations in NYS including Buffalo, Rochester, and Lake Placid in addition to the major US cities along the Totality path. Amo explains that proximity will likely be a predominant factor, but she also notes that many people will want a more intimate experience that is off-the-beaten path and without the commotion of excessive crowds and heavy traffic.
Amo notes that with two international bridges and an abundance of open-skies and rural landscapes, St. Lawrence County communities could be attractive options for our nearby Canadian neighbors and surrounding communities who are not within the narrow path of the total eclipse experience.
“Our entire county falls within the path of Totality, so it’s highly likely that we’ll have people visiting from surrounding areas where it won’t be visible,” states Amo. “We’re not trying to alarm local residents or businesses by any means, but we do want them to be prepared and also to see this as an opportunity to promote our area as a real tourism destination. It’s a chance to make a good impression and to make people want to come back here or to tell their friends about their positive experience.”
Tourists aside, the total eclipse is also an opportunity for folks who grew up in the area to come home, visit with friends and family, and experience the natural wonders in a familiar territory. Alumni from the county’s 5 colleges and universities are also anticipated to return.
With hotels already reporting higher occupancy rates at this time of year than in previous years throughout neighboring counties, with some fully booked already, it is clear that there will be more visitors than usual.
“Aside from being an astounding astronomical event, the eclipse can also be a source of revenue generation for the County and our local communities if we plan accordingly,” Amo said.
The Chamber is encouraging local restaurants, retail establishments, and entertainment venues to open their doors for the special occasion, which occurs on a Monday afternoon at an otherwise quiet time within most communities. Limited menus and specially-themed promotions are also being suggested to help manage potential crowds while still creating a memorable experience.
Additionally, the STLC Chamber is helping local businesses and event planners get the word out about the special promotions and viewing events through an online landing page dedicated to the eclipse at STLCtotality.com.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into gathering relevant information and presenting it online in one centralized place so that people can find the details they need to plan and promote accordingly,” Amo said.
STLCtotatilty.com features a viewing timetable for locations throughout the County, information on where to buy viewing glasses (including at the STLC Chamber of Commerce offices in Canton and Ogdensburg in the weeks leading up to the eclipse), updates on where the best viewing areas will be, and even an eclipse-themed playlist.
There is also a special event feed showcasing listings for viewing experiences and promotions happening throughout the county. Businesses hosting events are strongly encouraged to submit their details to the calendar, which is free and a great opportunity for additional marketing reach. Visitors will also find a live search feature for the County’s booking platform which showcases STLC Chamber Members in the lodging industry.
As the designated Tourism Promotion Agent for St. Lawrence County, the Chamber’s tourism team has also been working with I Love New York on a state level to increase promotional efforts and marketing reach.
The Chamber’s promotional campaign has included phrases like, “Come for the eclipse, stay for the weekend” and not only promotes eclipse-related viewing locations and events, but also highlights the County’s many natural resources, museums and attractions, sporting and recreational opportunities, and more.
While the landing page’s primary function serves to promote tourism to the county, it is also an excellent resource for businesses and locals to use for planning and preparedness resources, including a Chamber-hosted webinar focused on safety, preparation, and the science behind the eclipse. The Chamber also encourages all area restaurants, lodging, and attractions to visit the VisitSTLC.com business directory to ensure representation is accurate leading up to the eclipse.
For more information, or to contact the Chamber with inquiries or information, visit the St. Lawrence County Chamber website at www.VisitSTLC.com or contact Tiffani Amo at firstname.lastname@example.org