BOLTON LANDING - NBC's Today Show is broadcasting live Monday from The Sagamore Resort as it presents Lake George as one of four top vacation destinations in the nation, and area government and tourism officials are excited about the national exposure.
The scenery, accommodations and activities offered by the Lake George area will be showcased for a full hour in this show, a kickoff of the four-day series, "Today Takes a Vacation." The live segments, featuring Today Show hosts Meredith Viera and Ann Curry, will be intermixed with footage shot this past week and videos taken on behalf of the Warren County Tourism Department, agency director Cate Johnson said.
"This live broadcast is an opportunity for this area I could never have dreamed possible - national exposure on such a popular show," she said, noting the prestige of being chosen as a top vacation destination to be showcased on a program that boasts 5 million viewers daily. "We're happy the producers chose Lake George - this area has everything they were looking for and more, with the beauty and activities our area offers."
Luisa Sherman of the lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce also said the Today Show broadcast would be a boon for area tourism.
"The national and international exposure this will give the Lake George region just can't be measured," she said. "We anticipate seeing immediate impact on tourism, and it couldn't come at a more opportune time."
The rainy and cool weather this has been responsible for a substantially reduced tourism this year, she said, in addition to the sluggish economy, reflected in the county's reduced 2009 occupancy and sales tax revenues.
Sagamore General manager Tom Guay said the advance crews have been active this week at the resort, taking shots of Lake George from the hotel roof, and videotaping Sagamore guests fishing. He said he believes the live shooting will be on the decks of the Sagamore's new outside pool, with the historic, grand Sagamore in the background.
"We're thrilled the Today Show personalities are coming to both the Adirondacks and The Sagamore," he said. "This show will certainly be a boost to our tourism for the season, and this increase could be immediate - We're excited."
The publicity for The Sagamore generated by the broadcast could also have a substantial long-term effect as millions are introduced to the amenities and grandeur of the resort and its surroundings, he said.
The other three other destinations to be profiled, one to be aired on the Today Show each Tuesday through Thursday, are the Key Islands Fla., San Antonio Texas, and Las Vegas, Johnson said.
"To be aligned with these three destinations positions the Lake George region in such a prominent way," she said.
Johnson spent days last week accompanying Today Show advance staffers who scoped the area, and shot footage of vacationers fishing on the lake, camping at Hearthstone Point Campground, and participating in various water sports. An interview with Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais is also included in the show. The segments were shot July 15 through 19, she said. There is also likely to be footage depicting Lake George's rich history and the notable and influential families through the years that have lived on the lake's shores. Johnson said a segment on the area's bygone days includes an interview with local historian Bill Gates.
Other segments may include footage of the local tour boats and perhaps hot-air ballooning, she said.
Johnson been working to land the Today Show exposure for months, as well as assisting the producers in recent weeks. She had heard of the possibility of the Lake George area being chosen for the show, and she sent various materials, information and video footage on the region to the Today Show producers to secure the producer's choice.
The Today Show has been ranked the No. 1 morning show in viewership for 14 years, Johnson said.
Luisa praised Johnson as well as Sagamore marketing chief Kevin Rosa for their efforts to make the broadcast a reality and to assure the segment would be as informative and descriptive as possible.
A press release issued Monday on behalf of the Today Show describes Lake George as "one of the most breathtaking locations in the Northeast," and "an amazing vacation destination."
County Administrator Hal Payne said the Today Show publicity would provide a remarkable boost for the region.
"This is a home run for our tourism," he said Tuesday.
Bolton Supervisor Kathleen Simmes agreed.
"This publicity is absolutely marvelous," she said. "This is just a wonderful coup."
Wazrren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe echoed the point.
"You just can't buy this type of advertising," he said.