$827 million in tourism spending in Niagara County in 2014
The Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. today unveiled its 2014 annual report to its stakeholders and local government partners, including Niagara County and the cities of Lockport and Niagara Falls. The report highlighted the economic impacts of the 2014 tourism season.
Included in the report is data collected by Longwoods Travel USA, one of the world's leading travel and tourism marketing research companies. The 2014 annual report can be viewed here.
"2014 was a great year, not only for attracting new visitors to our region, but also being able to partner with renowned tourism research analysts to provide specific data and return on investment numbers as a result of our marketing and advertising campaigns," said John Percy, NTCC's president and CEO. "Our 2014 annual report illustrates how recent campaigns and relationship-building with travel media, motor coach tours, meeting planners and other organizations are having an extremely positive impact on tourism growth in Niagara County."
Longwoods conducted a study to provide an overview on 2014 domestic tourism business in the Niagara Falls region. The study concluded 6.6 million people, including adults and children, took a trip to the region last year. Of that number, 45 percent stayed overnight and 55 percent visited for a day trip. Total overnight trip spending was $561 million and included lodging, food and beverages, transportation, and retail and recreation. Visitors who came to the region for a day trip generated $266 million in spending, which included recreation, food and beverage, retail and transportation.
To help drive visitors to the region, NTCC conducted three distinct branding campaigns. The primary campaign focused on families and couples residing within a 600-mile drive radius of Niagara County and included television and online advertising during the summer months. Destination Analysts, a tourism research and marketing company, determined this campaign generated 27,665 incremental trips to Niagara USA and resulting visitor spending was approximately $24.5 million. This led to an overall return on investment of $92.71 per dollar invested and generated $978,509 in taxes for localities.
The Niagara USA Visitor Center, located at 10 Rainbow Blvd., welcomed 40,968 visitors in 2014, a 5 percent increase over 2013 traffic. Tours, motor coach tours and conventions also had an impact in driving visitors to Niagara County in 2014. According to NTCC, approximately 1,520 tours from visitors already in the region were referred to local tour companies yielding $147,295 in booked revenue for them. In addition, a total of 2,129 reported motor coach tours resulted in 17,932 room nights and $19.1 million in estimated economic impact to the region.
Last year, convention business generated an estimated $5.7 million in economic impact. NTCC also held a meeting planner familiarization tour in 2014 to showcase the offerings available for conventions, which resulted in three new events booked for 2015 and 2016 at an estimated economic impact of $2.3 million.
Recent statistics from the New York State 2013 Tourism Economic Report also reflect the continued success of NTCC's marketing and advertising programs. While hotel inventory has remained relatively stable in recent years, bed tax revenue from increased overnight stays has risen more than 70 percent since 2008. Total bed tax collected in Niagara County in 2014 was approximately $2,407,340, which marks an 8 percent increase over 2013 bed tax. Of the 2014 amount, $469,000 stayed directly in the municipalities' general funds.
In March 2014, NTCC launched its new website to provide a fresh new look with simplified navigation for visitors and tour groups and received more than 890,000 unique visitors and 3.4 million page views. Niagara USA was featured prominently by many national and international media outlets, generating more than 25 million in earned media impressions. The region was named No. 9 on Travel & Leisure's "World's Most Visited Tourist Attractions," No. 2 in Conde Nast Traveler's "The Most Photographed Places in the U.S.," and was included in USA Today's 10 Best "The brightest fall foliage around the USA."
The NTCC's mission is to expand the economic prosperity of the Niagara USA communities by generating individual and group visitation. For more information, visit niagara-usa.com.