City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino discusses the results of “World-Class Destination: Envisioning Growth and Prosperity in Niagara Falls, USA."

The Niagara Global Tourism Institute released the results of a tourism study it created in partnership with Niagara University and various private/public sector stakeholders to identify the challenges and opportunities facing the City of Niagara Falls and offered suggestions to enhance and build a more sustainable industry and economy. “World-Class Destination: Envisioning Growth and Prosperity in Niagara Falls, USA” recommends that Niagara Falls renew its emphasis on creating a year-round tourism destination and advocates for the creation of a master plan to leverage tourism, enhance the local economy, and create a more equitable community. 

“This carefully researched report outlines important elements critical to the evolution of the City of Niagara Falls as a year-round destination,” said City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino. “The concentration on the economic development aspects of the tourism core complement the focus of our administration on fighting poverty, increasing community pride, and provides entertainment and attractions for local residents and tourists. This report is an excellent blueprint for the future of Niagara Falls. I would like to thank Father Maher, president of Niagara University, the Niagara Global Tourism Institute, and the entire Niagara University community for the continued commitment to our city.”

Faculty from the university’s colleges of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Business Administration interviewed community members and city leaders and examined the current state of tourism in Niagara Falls to determine the most effective ways key stakeholders and policymakers could take advantage of the city’s world-class natural attraction and facilitate growth. Based on this research, they recommended that new, year-round attractions and activities be developed as a critical component for industry advancement and sustainability.

A coordinated approach is critical to this effort, they concluded, so that the main hurdles impacting tourism could be overcome.

The researchers also offered several ideas for the city to pursue, all of which would address the areas of challenge. One positions Niagara Falls as the gateway to America’s tourism experience, highlighting the best tourism features of the United States. A second envisions the area as a natural and historical destination, with a peaceful and beautiful environment throughout Niagara Falls’ parks and a commitment to protecting the natural environment. The third suggestion celebrates the city’s role in electric and sustainable innovation and offers the environmental challenges it faced as an educational opportunity. A fourth would be the creation of a multi-purpose event center.

“A lot of public and private money has been spent in recent years in Niagara Falls,” said Patrick Whalen, director of the NGTI. “That investment has created a much better place, not just for tourists, but for residents. However, winter-appropriate venues designed to keep tourists here for multiple days are still lacking. This study highlights that fact and points out the problems created by extreme seasonality. More importantly, it offers several suggestions to solve the age-old problem of very low winter tourism spend and year-round sustainability for the Niagara Falls economy.”

The report was sponsored by Niagara Falls Redevelopment, LLC; the Seneca Nation of Indians; TRM Architecture, Design & Planning, PC; United Thermal Systems, LLC; Mr. Gaelan Baillie; Momentum Public Affairs, LLC; Great Lakes Real Estate; Capitol Cleaners; One Niagara LLC; and American Niagara Hospitality.

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