Safety protocols proved necessary three years ago when the novel coronavirus pandemic began.
These included wearing masks and social distancing. The introduction of vaccinations helped tremendously by protecting many individuals from serious illness and death.
But while vital to ensure public health, some of these measures left Americans feeling isolated. Many people now seek additional ways to reconnect with each other and regain a sense of normalcy.
Those who work in the tourism industry have been able to use this sentiment to their advantage. In particular, they promote outdoor activities as safe and enjoyable ways to restore social balance in people’s lives.
Donald R. Meissner, sports-fishing promotion director for the town of Massena, understands the value of this approach. A recent trip to another state demonstrated the public’s desire for outdoor events.
“We just completed one of our sports shows, our first sports show that we’ve done in three years. It was in Foxborough, Massachusetts,” Meissner said in a story published Feb. 23 by the Watertown Daily Times. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It set records that I wouldn’t have imagined based on going to shows many years before. We believe the reason is that so many people have felt so stifled during the COVID period that now they’re looking to the outdoors to do things.”
One of the more popular items among individuals who visited Meissner’s booth at this sports show was a cookbook. People responded positively to the idea of traveling to the region for its many recreational offerings.
“That’s good news for the opportunity to promote Massena not just as a fishing destination but also a vacation site, he said. Mr. Meissner said they set up their booth, a large yellow tent, with a table and a television to play a number of videos shot over the last several years detailing fishing opportunities in Massena,” the article reported. “They also stock up on brochures, including a new fishing guide and waterfalls guide from the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce so that, when individuals come to Massena, ‘they’ll have the ability to go to these different places and enjoy a vacation rather than just the fishing time,’ he said. Meanwhile Mr. Meissner said, other booths were selling items.”
People appreciated the cookbooks that Meissner gave away for free.
“They’ll come into the booth and they’ll start looking at this stuff. We will take that cookbook and hand it to them. They say how much? ‘Nothing. This is something that the town of Massena wants to give to you, to give you an invitation of why we want you to come to our area.’ We also have the bag and the other things,” Meissner said, adding that some who approach his booth expressed an interest in buying a home in this area. “I thought that was amazing. We had one woman [who] had come up a year ago and she says, ‘Now I want you to talk to my husband,’ and her husband came over and talked to Linda [McQuinn] and they’re looking at it. There was at least a handfull of people like this [who] came to us and that’s what they’re interested in now. They probably wouldn’t have been before COVID.”
Meissner has found an effective way to help attract people to Massena. The investment that the town is making in tourism shows signs of paying off, and we commend everyone for making use of the resources available.
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