Editorial: A 'Welcome' honor indeed

Mar 26, 2012


Congratulations are due the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce for earning the 2012 Excellence in Tourism Award for Visitor Services from the New York State Travel & Vacation Association.



Chamber Marketing Director Kelly Rapone accepted the award earlier this month at the Empire State Tourism Conference in Albany.  What earned the award for the Chamber is its “Welcome Channel,” offered as the default station on television sets in area motels and hotels.







Travelers have likely come across similar videos at big resort areas — they get to their room, turn on the TV and can watch videos that feature local attractions and advertise local businesses. A brochure or a few words from a local worker can tip visitors off to regional and local attractions, but there’s nothing like seeing that attraction in full color and action on a TV screen.



The Chamber-run Welcome Channel, Ms. Rapone said, is the only one she knows of among tourism promotion agencies. LaBarge Media of Canandaigua teamed up with the Chamber to work out technical aspects, with Paul Figlow of Figlow Productions creating in-house pieces for hoteliers and some of the paid ads for other businesses which air on the channel. Alexander native Lydia Dominick, seen on WGRZ-TV Channel 2 in Buffalo, is spokeswoman and narrator.



The video runs in a continuous loop and is broadcast through Time Warner cable and satellite communication companies. “Kelly did a great job with this,” said Dennis Kohl, accommodations manager for Darien Lake Theme Park hotel and campground. “It’s an excellent tool for us to present a fresh message.”



It is also a way for people in the area on business to find out about local attractions. Chan Patel, who owns the Clarion Hotel in Batavia and nominated the Chamber for the state award, said business people enjoy learning what is available in the area. “They come back with the family,” he said.



Those of us who live in the area already know there are some wonderful attractions here — among them Darien Lake Theme Park, Batavia Downs Casino, Palm Island indoor waterpark, Muckdogs games, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Bergen Swamp and the new International Peace Garden. The region has some outstanding restaurants. There are wonderful museums and parks. The Welcome Channel tells visitors what we already know — this little corner of the world has a lot going for it. Kudos to the Chamber for finding new and exciting ways to showcase what this area has to offer.