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ROOST earns three Tourism Excellence Awards

TROY — The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, based in Lake Placid, won three honors during the 2021 New York State Tourism Excellence Awards, recognizing the work the organization accomplished during 2020.

Destination marketing organizations, museums, attractions and other tourism-related businesses from around New York state gathered virtually Thursday, May 6 for the annual awards ceremony, hosted by the New York State Tourism Industry Association. This year, nominations for the awards were up 250% over 2019 and the judges were challenged by both the volume and the caliber of the entries.

During the ceremony, ROOST was recognized for how it redirected its efforts in 2020 to support local communities, while rising to the occasion to meet unprecedented health-related guidelines and special needs for both residents and travelers.

James McKenna, CEO of ROOST, said, “2020 was a challenging year for all. Working together with our regions, businesses, communities and travelers, we were able to implement programming centered around health protocols and safety procedures that allowed for our region to maintain its tourism economy.”

ROOST’s “Pathway Forward Strategy” took home awards in the categories of “Best COVID Response Marketing Effort to Pivot to Success” and “Most Significant COVID-Related Impact in Support of A Community and/or Local Businesses.”

Additionally, ROOST was recognized for “Excellence In Tourism Marketing” in the Public Relations category for the “Politely Adirondack” campaign.

“We have a really fantastic team, and over the last year they’ve shown so much willingness to use their creativity to adapt our messaging and support our communities,” said Mary Jane Lawrence, ROOST chief operating officer. “We live here, we’re personally invested, and it means a lot to see the hard work rewarded.”

The “Pathway Forward Strategy” was first rolled out during a “Community Update” call in April 2020 and outlined a four-phase strategy for reopening the region. Through its implementation came campaigns such as “#WeWillBeHereADK,” which carried the “pause now, play later” message, encouraging travelers not to visit the region until the time was right; “Politely Adirondack,” which communicates health and safety guidelines in a friendly way; and “Love Your ADK,” which focuses on educating backcountry users on Leave No Trace Principles.

The North County was one of the first regions to reopen, and ROOST released the “Politely Adirondack” campaign, focused on setting expectations for the traveler as to new health guidelines that were required, presented in a friendly, approachable Adirondack way. Milton Moose, Rezzie Raccoon, Buster Bear, Otto Otter and the YardBirds became the unofficial mascots for this message in the Adirondack region.

ROOST is the destination marketing and management organization for Hamilton and Essex counties, along with the communities of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake, all located within the Adirondacks in New York state.

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