YOUNGSTOWN – Tourism in the Niagara Falls area is about to get a boost from the federal government.
Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was joined by other public officials Monday at Fort Niagara to announce a new international marketing campaign to promote Niagara Falls and the Niagara region as a tourism destination.
To bring tourists to the Niagara region, Brand USA – a marketing campaign created by the Obama administration to encourage visitors from around the world to travel to the U.S. – will promote the area as a “Trip Idea” on the New York State page of Brand USA’s Discover America website.
“The Greater Niagara Region has it all, from the awe-inspiring magnificence of the Falls to the vineyards of the Niagara Wine Trail, to fishing and boating on Lake Ontario, to the battle sites of the War of 1812, to the architectural treasures of Buffalo – like the Darwin Martin House and the Guaranty Building. Everyone cherishes their first visit to Niagara Falls,” Gillibrand said.
She said Niagara Falls is ranked among the world’s top 20 destinations for overseas travelers.
“Today we are announcing a new effort to help make the most of everything we have here,” Gillibrand said. “Brand USA will soon launch a new campaign to promote our region as an international travel destination.”
The marketing for the Niagara Region will begin in the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan, with plans to expand to Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, South Korea and France, according to Michael Fullerton, director of public affairs for Brand USA.
“For every 33 visitors that come to the United States from overseas, it creates one United States job. On average, an overseas visitors spent $4,500 on a trip,” Fullerton said. “The New York section of Brand USA has several trip options and we are looking forward to adding this one. We will also be adding a campaign to promote the Buffalo area very soon.”
Gillibrand said the influx of international visitors to Niagara would increase the area’s export growth and facilitate job creation in the region.
She said the website page dedicated to the Western New York area has the potential to be a major economic driver.
“Tourism is already the top industry for our region, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and supporting thousands of local jobs. Last year alone, visitors alone spent close to $500 million dollars to travel here in Niagara County,” Gillibrand said. “With the new energy of this effort we can build on that – attract more visitors and new investment into the area, strengthen our economy and create more local jobs.”
Afterward, State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, praised the effort, but questioned whether it was enough.
“Looking over there, they see there is more to do over there,” he said looking across the river into Canada. Maziarz suggested adding a tour bus to move people around, or a ferry boat into Youngstown.
“Help us do that, Senator,” Maziarz said. “Most of the issues are not about money, but about security.”
Gillibrand said Brand USA is a comprehensive approach.
“We will be working with them to bring in more funds to enhance what we have to offer,” she said.