Mon April 23, 2012
Study looks to expand local Canadian shopping
Western New York is already a popular destination for Canadian shoppers, but local tourism officials believe the region has greater potential.
Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Dotty Gallagher-Cohen says a new study was designed to show local businesses who their Canadian customers really are.
"What we hope to do is take what's happening organically and devise some strategies to increase the frequencies and the lengths of stay of people who come here," Gallagher-Cohen said.
The research shows over the past three years, Buffalo-Niagara has been attracting more than 3 million shoppers annually from Ontario, pumping more than $900 million into the local economy.
Co-sponsors of the study include the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation.
President and CEO John Percy says the new research will also help in promoting more of the region's cultural assets, businesses and attractions.
To that end he proposes exploring "social media networks, through maybe some other new technologies, through website development, through some other marketing strategies, some branding, possibly, of a shopping brand."
Percy says given the strength of the Canadian dollar, he thinks the market will remain strong for quite some time.
"Used to be where the marketplace would fluctuate," said Percy.
"Now it (the Canadian dollar) seems to consistently stay at a pretty strong level, at a level that is par with the American dollar."