Op-ed: Taking a regional approach to Niagara County tourismby jmaloni
by Oscar Vizcarra
Becker Farms & Vizcarra Vineyards
Becker Farms has been in the local tourism business for more than 30 years. As a fully operational farm, we offer a family-friendly experience, including a petting zoo, strawberry and apple picking and various other hands-on activities throughout the year. But for a good majority of the time we've been in business, our visitors are primarily members of the local community.
However, in the last decade, we have seen an emergence in visitors who are coming to see Niagara Falls and have added a side trip to Becker Farms and eastern Niagara County to their itinerary.
This is the result of the hard work of the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. as it continues to promote all of Niagara County, including eastern Niagara County, more than any other agency ever has. Becker Farms and other attractions on this side of the county, like Lockport Locks and the Niagara Wine Trail, have experienced a renaissance in tourism since the NTCC has been promoting the entire county as a destination.
At Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards, we have seen an increase in tourists from throughout the state, nation and from all over the world. Through the efforts of the NTCC, we even had an opportunity to host top airline executives from Europe, the Middle East and Africa who were in Niagara Falls for a convention. On the last day of their visit, they came to Becker Farms for a "local lunch" and apple picking. They loved our end of the county as well as Niagara Falls!
To have an international destination in our backyard is the envy of the state. It is up to us and other attraction owners, hoteliers, restaurant managers and other tourism stakeholders to collaborate with NTCC to maximize the potential of the millions of visitors who visit Niagara Falls each year. Even if a fraction of them stayed one more night in eastern Niagara County, there would be a huge economic benefit to Eastern Niagara County.
Niagara USA is a world-class destination made up of a number of distinct, world-class attractions that appeal to visitors of all ages and interests. Instead of working independently to promote our county, NTCC's regional approach has and continues to benefit all of us within the local tourism industry.
NTCC is the main factor in packaging all of our assets to showcase to visitors what the rest of the region has to offer outside of Niagara Falls. Tourists are recognizing this and are more and more venturing to Newfane, Olcott, Lockport and the rest of eastern Niagara County. NTCC has done and continues to do a great job, often in spite of a reduced budget, to promote our area to the rest of the world.