You're finishing up a night at Bethel Woods, or starting a day of skiing at Belleayre or Holiday Mountain, but what's after that?
Thanks to the Catskills E-Kiosk project, initiated by State Senator John Bonacic and CATS - the Catskill Association for Tourism Services, visitors to the Catskill Region will be able to punch in what they want to do next, see the choices the region has to offer, and print out directions on how to get there, all from state of the art E-Kiosks.
"Current information about what's going on in the Catskills will encourage people who are here already, to stay longer. You might come to the region for Bethel Woods, but you should stay for our food, our unique shops, our skiing, our golf, our mountains and rivers. In the 21st century, we can't have visitors waiting until local tourism offices open in the morning to find out what else they can do," Senator Bonacic said.
Sullivan County Visitors Association President and CEO Roberta Byron-Lockwood, who worked closely with Bonacic to develop the initiative said, "The Catskill Tourism Region is the first to step in and use this new technology to keep visitors here. The traditional tourism model had visitors plan their trips in advance, mapping out each stop. Technology has changed that; we have the ability to let visitors know, up to the minute, what is happening in our region, and give them simple directions how to attend those events," Lockwood said.
The Vantage Point Kiosks are manufactured by SeePoint. A Sullivan County company adc Studio, owned by Chris Andreola, of Livingston Manor was used to develop the data and technology to upload the kiosks.
At this time, businesses which are members of The Sullivan County Visitors Association (SCVA), will be able to, through an individualized, password protected process, change the information on the SCVA website, which will be uploaded to the Kiosks relating to their site. As other County tourism organizations update their software and data, their local tourism destinations will have the same capabilities.
The E-Kiosks are initially expected to be placed in the following locations: Bethel Woods; Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg; Monticello Raceway; some Thruway rest areas; downtown Kingston; and Belleayre. Other locations are being determined and all kiosks are expected to be in place in the next few weeks.
The E-Kiosks cost approximately $6,000 each. Ten have been purchased to date. Approximately $40,000 in one time computer costs was also invested in the program, making the total project cost $100,000. Each E-Kiosk is tamper resistant, wireless, and can be weatherproofed for outdoor locations. They are also easily portable. Byron-Lockwood indicated she felt they would be moved around if usage at one site was not meeting expectations. If usage was particularly strong, Bonacic said he would work to secure funding to place more in the region and hoped the region's other elected officials would work in support of the program as well.
Senator Bonacic has been a strong tourism advocate, securing $7.5 million for the Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center and $10.4 million for the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center. He has quadrupled the State's investment in regional tourism promotion of the Catskills, and has worked to secure significant aid for arts facilities in places along the Delaware River, and in Ellenville, Shandaken, Middletown, Margaretville, Franklin, Walton, Kingston, and Rosendale.
"Marketing has changed. Our region is helping to set the trend. Whether you want to see a show at Bethel Woods, ski at Belleayre, or see a show at UPAC, the Hudson Valley and Catskills are a year round destination within a two and a half hour drive of more than ten million people. Our message - come here, stay here, we have a lot to offer," concluded Senator Bonacic.