Tourism is good, but it’s good to diversify

Tourism is up in the Adirondacks, according to reports by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the North Country Chamber of Commerce. That’s easy to believe, based on what we’ve seen and heard this summer. Local residents tell us they see more visitors in town, and local business owners tell us it’s one of their best years.

Tourism may not be the perfect base for an economy, but it’s pretty good — much more reliable than depending on a single big company, for example. It directly helps people who own or work at places visitors frequent, and those locals then have more money to spend elsewhere in the community. The impact spreads out to much of the population.

But not all. You don’t have to dig too deeply to find resentment about huge sports events, crowded hiking trails, vacation rentals taking over Lake Placid neighborhoods, second home buyers pricing locals out of the real estate market, and a labor market that leaves a nursing home starved for workers because they can make more money waiting tables and cleaning hotel rooms.

We don’t endorse that kind of grumbling, but we understand that these are people who simply don’t think the tourism economy is the be-all, end-all answer to our problems, as state leaders have told us for decades. We respect that viewpoint and know it isn’t going away anytime soon.

You can’t make everybody happy, and again, tourism is a good base. But diversifying the economy would be good, too.

Of course, that’s not easy — not at all.

There are examples and ideas to look at, however. We’ll get into one in tomorrow’s editorial.

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