Local economy could suffer if tourism falls

Apr 3, 2017

The local economy could take a hit in the coming months if tourism drops off. A recent study by Tourism Economics projects that the U.S. will see more than 4 million fewer international visitors because of President Trump's travel bans.

Nearly 8 million people travel to Niagara Falls each year. But, Destination Niagara USA President and CEO, John Percy says, not many visitors are from the 6 mostly majority Muslim countries named in Trump's travel ban.
"But what he has done is the countries that are friendly allies, or just countries that have a higher volume of inbound international business, have a negative perception," Percy said.

At least one local hotelier he's talked to is already anticipating cancellations.

"I know we are going to be negatively impacted going forward," Percy said.

Niagara Falls State Park
Credit Destination Niagara USA

But at the same time, he says, he's not crying foul.
"If there is a terrorist attack anywhere it impacts tourism. So we want security to be a priority. However, there has to be the proper mix. And I think, what happened under the Trump effect is, the roll out was really poor," Percy said.      
And it could end up hurting local residents. Percy points out that tourism is Niagara County's second largest industry providing over 14,000 jobs.

"Every time something happens, a waiter's job or a front desk person's job, when we have a negative dip, or negative perceptions, or a decline in visitation, that is going to effect those people in those positions," Percy said.   

He says he's hoping that there will be a large uptick in domestic travelers to make up for the projected loss from fewer international visitors