NIAGARA FALLS – The city’s Tourism Advisory Board wants the Dyster administration to establish a City Hall job focused on tourism, an idea that appears to have legs.
The board on Wednesday night presented Mayor Paul A. Dyster with a job description for a “tourism director,” a position that the board envisions being aimed at improving a visitor’s experience while in Niagara Falls.
The person in the post would deal with daily tourism-related issues, like traffic or cleanliness of public spaces, but also would do things like work with area hospitality establishments and coordinate tourism development and promotion.
“We want this person to be solely devoted to tourism and not have 10,000 other jobs,” Chairwoman Lisa A. Vitello said.
Currently, the advisory board – which is appointed by the City Council and advises lawmakers on tourism-related issues – often has nowhere to go in city government when it identifies problems and has potential solutions to propose, Vitello said.
The job would be distinct from what the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. does, which is market Niagara Falls as a destination to travelers from around the world, she said.
With tourism having become a key pillar for the city’s future, all sides agreed such a job as part of City Hall’s economic development department would benefit the city.
But the mayor said he would be opposed to adding a new job to the payroll, and would rather reorganize a department, which is most easily done when an employee retires.
Dyster pledged to take the board’s job description and try to meld it with an existing description that had been developed several years ago and was recently updated.
He said there was some overlap among what both documents envisioned in such a position.
Dyster said he wanted to prioritize the potential duties and see if any are being undertaken by a person in another job.
The mayor said that could likely happen within a couple weeks.
“We will discuss it and we will come back to you,” Council Chairman Charles A. Walker, who sat in on the meeting in Council Chambers, told the board.
Dyster said there was an effort near the start of his administration that looked at creating a position similar to what is now being proposed.
The mayor said the city got several “interesting” applicants, but no one who fit the role the city wanted, and no one was hired.
The priority at this point in the economic development department is to fill the position of senior business development director, which has been vacant for some time.