Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-C-I-Lewiston, today hosted a Niagara County tourism forum with Assembly minority economic development, education and infrastructure task force Chair Bill Reilich, R-C-I-Greece, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, R-C-I-Clarence, and Assemblyman David DiPietro, R-C-East Aurora. The forum included businesspeople and tourism experts who shared insights about how Niagara County can create better economic opportunities for its residents through tourism. The event was held at the Niagara Falls Public Library. Ceretto said he hopes to take the information presented at the forum and use it to craft legislation that can be enacted next year in Albany.
"We had very productive, meaningful discussions today about the future of Niagara County's tourist economy," he said. "We have been blessed with one of the greatest natural tourist attractions in the world, and we need to take advantage of its economic potential. It is time to use our tourist attractions to create jobs and spark economic development here in Niagara County. It is my hope that we are starting down a road that will lead to economic prosperity in our community."
Ceretto discussed the developments for Niagara County over the past year, including the recently signed Mark Hamister hotel deal, funding to expand the Aquarium of Niagara, and the agreement with the Seneca Nation of Indians to pay the City of Niagara Falls $89 million in disputed payments. Ceretto said there are still outstanding issues that need to be resolved, such as the redesign of the Robert Moses Parkway. He also wants to create additional tourist attractions to draw even more visitors to Niagara Falls and keep them in the region for extended vacations.
"Economic development in Niagara County and its tourist economy are intimately linked. We must support tourism in Niagara County in order to create the economic development necessary to improve the well-being of Niagara County's residents. This forum brought to light many practical ways that we can make that happen," Reilich said.
"Niagara County is blessed to have one of the greatest natural attractions in the world. It is very important to our local economy and the well-being of our residents that we make the most of this resource. This tourism forum was valuable for gaining insights toward improving Niagara County's tourist economy," Corwin said.
"Our region has been blessed with a great natural resource that is known around the world in Niagara Falls," DiPietro said. "We all know just how important tourism is to our regional economic growth. We can examine how to bring about more tourists to fish out on Lake Erie and embrace the rich sportsmen heritage of our region. We are plentiful in natural resources that should bring those from all over the globe to our region. I look forward to listening to the ideas of this forum to see what we can do to ensure more economic growth and make the region a friendlier place for tourism."