Well, its a brand new year and we hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! Lake Placid was decorated beautifully for Christmas and Ive overheard so many visitors commenting how much they love walking through town around the holidays. Since weve been discussing cooperative efforts in tapping into the ever-growing European travel market, I wanted to share a great experience the other day that supports the information weve been gathering. Working at a retail location downtown gives me the chance to interact with visitors ranging from families in town for some sledding to peak-baggers (those looking to climb as many peaks as possible) in town for well, peak bagging. A significant percentage of our customer base also includes Europeans as well. One important thing we learned at the Bureaus European travel seminar two weeks ago was that our friends across the pond come to the United States to visit in large part because of their curiosity about just who we really are. That, coupled with the currency exchange rate ($1 = 1.98 GBP and 1.45 EUR as of Dec. 26) has made our nation an enticing place to explore. Those venturing through our airports from Europe are looking for a bit more than great prices though. Our friends in the travel industry have mentioned repeatedly that Europeans traveling abroad are looking for an American experience; to even have a personal connection with an American. Lake Placid is the perfect destination to allow for such interactions. The one thing that struck me was when he said You guys are the nicest Americans Ive met! Im not kidding. As clich_as it might sound, we were really flattered by this. Just being ourselves and engaging a traveler in friendly conversation gave them that personal experience theyre looking for. We are essentially ambassadors for our town and nation without even leaving home. How cool is that?