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Niagara now: Growing tourism industry saving taxpayer dollars

by jmaloni
Sat, Jul 27th 2013 06:55 am
Michelle Blackley (left), communications manager at Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp., and Pamela Fekete, CFO/VP of operations, man the `Wallenda Walk` at Niagara Falls voucher tent. The 2012 event drew thousands to Niagara Falls and was covered in more than 250 media outlets around the world.
Michelle Blackley (left), communications manager at Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp., and Pamela Fekete, CFO/VP of operations, man the "Wallenda Walk" at Niagara Falls voucher tent. The 2012 event drew thousands to Niagara Falls and was covered in more than 250 media outlets around the world.

by Michelle Blackley

Over the past decade, tourism has experienced continued growth to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Niagara County, turning tourism into a key driver for progress.

Today, Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. attracts guests from all corners of the globe, including groups and conventions, media and more. Tourism has become one of the major players in commerce in Niagara USA. It represents a natural world wonder in our backyard, making us a worthy competitor in the destination marketplace.

Tourism has grown to become the second largest industry in Niagara County, and it is having an impact on taxpayers' wallets, according to recent numbers released by Tourism Economics for New York State. Tourism affects all citizens in the county, especially when the dollars it generates help to support quality of life issues, including infrastructure and other necessities typically funded by taxes. The report concluded that visitors to Niagara County spent more than $526 million in 2012 (an increase from $491 million in 2011) and directly produced 13,919 jobs in the area, generating more than $37 million and $28 million in local and state taxes, respectively (and, therefore, saving the average household in Niagara County $748.03 annually). Every dollar collected from a visitor in taxes is revenue for Niagara County and saves residents from paying directly.

Other key numbers include bed tax revenue from overnight stays, which has risen more than 70 percent since 2004; and 2,784 motor coach tours, which were referred to local tour companies, yielding a $238,304 economic impact for them.

Tourism alone is an exciting business, and with this niche market rising to become the most popular genre to cover in the media world, it looks like Niagara USA is falling right in line with the trends.

Michelle Blackley is the communications manager at Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. She can be reached at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @shellblackley.

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