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Destination Niagara USA celebrated its 20th anniversary on June 1. (Submitted photo)
Destination Niagara USA celebrated its 20th anniversary on June 1. (Submitted photo)

Destination Niagara USA celebrates 20th anniversary


Fri, Jun 9th 2023 12:45 pm

Submitted by Destination Niagara USA
Originally formed in 2003, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. was established in an effort to streamline promotion of Niagara County as a world-class tourist destination. Prior to 2003, promotion was handled by both a Niagara County tourism office and the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In March of 2017, the private nonprofit rebranded as Destination Niagara USA, with a more strategic focus to showcase the natural beauty and outdoor adventure that are so prevalent across the county. Using the bucket-list allure of Niagara Falls as the hook, the team at Destination Niagara USA works to share all of the treasures beyond the Falls to lengthen visitor stays.

Now in its 20th year, the organization has much to celebrate.

Destination Niagara USA President and CEO John Percy said, “I started with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., now Destination Niagara USA, in 2003, and the past 20 years have given us much to celebrate. In the past 10 years alone, data from Tourism Economics shows a 69.3% increase in overall tourism spending in Niagara County, a 63.6% increase in local tax generation, and a 5.1% growth in employment.”

Destination Niagara USA was originally established through a contract with Niagara County, which was recently extended through May of 2026.

"When the county tourism department was part of the merger 20 years ago that created what is now Destination Niagara USA, the hope was that tourism promotion for our community would be far more effective with a unified approach," said Becky Wydysh, chairwoman of the Niagara County Legislature. "Two decades later, that has proven true, as Destination Niagara USA has done a great job not only marketing Niagara Falls, but showcasing all that Niagara County can offer visitors."

Destination Niagara USA is primarily funded through bed tax collected from hotels in Niagara County and the cities of Lockport and Niagara Falls.

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, “Destination Niagara USA continues to develop creative ways to keep our city and county in the forefront of the traveling public. Without the resourcefulness of Destination Niagara USA, we would not have come out of the public health crisis as well as we did. We look forward to their continued excellent work for our community.”

The support of local and state leaders is crucial to the success of Destination Niagara USA and tourism as a whole in the region. New York State Sen. Robert G. Ortt and Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello have been supportive in ensuring that the bed tax – the main funding source at the state level – has remained intact for the organization. In addition, both leaders are consistently vocally supportive of the mission of Destination Niagara USA’s efforts throughout the community.

“Tourism is an essential part of the Western New York economy,” Ortt said. “Over the past 20 years, Destination Niagara has worked to ensure that visitors experience the absolute best that our region has to offer. I look forward to our continuing my partnership with Destination Niagara USA in carrying out the vital mission of showcasing Niagara County’s rich history and assortment of attractions to visitors from all over the world.”

June 1 was the official 20th anniversary of Destination Niagara USA, and the organization hosted a birthday party in the Official Niagara Falls USA Visitor Center to commemorate the occasion.

Percy said, “This milestone is a testament to the passion and unwavering dedication of the Destination Niagara USA team and our partners in tourism. We look forward to continued successes and more celebratory moments in the years to come.”

The mission of Destination Niagara USA is to expand the economic prosperity of the Niagara Falls USA communities by generating individual and group visitation. For more information, visit niagarafallsusa.com.

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