Visitation to Niagara Falls USA is breaking all-time records this summer, as Niagara Falls State Park is celebrating 130 years, and new businesses and amenities are open in downtown Niagara Falls.
The Niagara USA Official Visitor Center assisted 11,687 guests during the month of June, a 100-percent increase over last year. During the Independence Day holiday weekend, the Visitor Center welcomed 5,514, a fourfold increase over the same three-day holiday in 2014; and more recently, from July 10-13, the Visitor Center saw daily increases (compared to 2014) ranging from 240 to 330 percent.
The Visitor Center has been trending up all year, finishing the second quarter 62 percent ahead of 2014. To date, the Visitor Center is up 91 percent, welcoming 30,114 visitors through July 6. The official number of visitors to the Visitor Center in 2014 was 40,979.
"As the local tourism industry continues to prosper, it also means economic growth for Niagara County. Looking ahead to the end of the summer, I am confident we will be announcing a new recording-breaking number of visitors coming to experience Niagara Falls and its surrounding communities," said John Percy, Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. president and CEO. "These numbers are indicative of what we are witnessing: an increase in State Park and attraction attendance, and hotel occupancy."
Last year, the overall tourism impact included a recorded $525 million spent by visitors. With tourism the second-largest employer in the county, there are currently 14,232 people, or 20.1 percent, making up the total workforce. Labor income from tourism is more than $272 million, as reported in NTCC's 2014 annual report.
"Our family saw the potential growth of tourism in Niagara County, and we decided to capitalize on that vision by investing in the growth of the industry and future of Niagara Falls," said Frank Strangio, chairman of the NTCC board of directors and owner of the Quality Inn Niagara Falls and the new Wingate by Wyndham Niagara Falls.
Michael Barnes of Delaware North Companies, the concessionaire for Niagara Falls State Park, reported an increase in revenues of 16.5 percent compared to last year.
Hotels also are seeing an increase in occupancy. Ron Drogmeyer, general manager of the Sheraton At The Falls, said the Independence Day holiday weekend was especially great. "Our hotel was very busy and our outlets had record business," he said. "It all went extremely well."
Sheraton At The Falls is home to one of downtown Niagara Falls' newest eateries, the Rainforest Café on Old Falls Street. New properties in Niagara Falls include the Wingate by Wyndham Niagara Falls, Tony Roma's and The Great American Arcade at the Holiday Inn Niagara Falls.
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.