State and local officials have made tourism a key priority in helping the North Country economy recover. Local leaders are hoping The Bassmaster Elite tournament, being held in Waddington this week, will give a jolt to the struggling economy. Barry Wygel spoke with some Clarkson University business students who are studying just how big of an impact one weekend can have.
WADDINGTON, N.Y. -- The Bassmaster Elite tournament in Waddington isn't just about world class fishing. It's also giving North Country businesses a chance to show what they have to offer.
"This week in Waddington, the local community will have 100 local and regional exhibitors, making the largest local festival in the history of the Bassmaster Elite Series," said Bassmasters Elite Tournament Director Chris Bowes, in an address Thursday.
The Taste and Talents of the North Country Festival aims at giving visitors the full North Country experience when they are not busy watching the world class anglers. A group of Clarkson business students have partnered with the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce to study the actual economic impact of the tournament.
"We are going to demonstrate that this is the sales revenue that was earned last year in summer and this year, this is the sales revenue and there is a big peak in the graph that has happened because of the event that occurred in St. Lawrence County," said Shashikant Ingale, a Clarkson student.
The students will spend the weekend passing out these surveys to businesses both on site and in the community and students say the businesses are more than happy to help out.
"We do it for free. It's a win-win for the county," said Tu Tian, a Clarkson student.
These Clarkson students are going to spend the next couple months compiling the data and analyzing it and then they will make a report to the Chamber of Commerce.
"We have committed that November 1st, we will give a presentation to the Chamber of Commerce," said Ingale.
Both local and state officials have been working to increase tourism to the region, especially fishing based tourism. Governor Andrew Cuomo said this increase will play a big role in helping the economy.
"Fishing is a $1.8 billion industry in New York State. It's real jobs, it's real economic development," said Governor Cuomo on Thursday.
Officials in St. Lawrence County hope they can add to that number by bringing the Bassmasters and other tournaments to the region in years to come.
The Bassmaster Elite tournament continues through Sunday with daily weigh-in ceremonies and entertainment at night.
The top fisherman will be awarded a check for $100,000.