Marketing efforts that some have as described as more intense and strategic are being partially credited for a banner tourism season in Niagara Falls.
Traffic at the Niagara Falls Visitors' Center was up 154 percent this season, said John Percy, president and CEO of Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. He told WBFO the region benefited from a series of positive economic factors.
“Lower gas prices, the economy rebounding, even if people don’t think so, it is in people’s minds, and they’re willing to let go of a few dollars and spend on travel."
Some marketing efforts have focused on U.S. residents who don't need passports to visit the American side of the Falls.
The Maid of the Mist and Hornblower boat tours are been among the biggest beneficiaries of the increase in tourism. Collectively, the attractions provided boat trips to more than 3 million people, an increase of more than 500,000 over the previous year. The Maid of the Mist ferried about 1.4 million people while Hornblower officials estimated their volume at 1.85 million.
Experts said the boat tours and other area businesses have taken advantage of the falling Canadian dollar.
While Percy downplayed that the fact that the U.S. is "competing" with Canada for valuable tourism dollars, he said he believes there are many US isn’t necessarily “competing” with Canada, they’re many benefits to visiting the US side of the falls
“You have more vantage points on the U.S. side than you do the Canadian side," he said. "You have more opportunity to touch it, feel it, see it, up close and powerfully on the US side. So that’s really our positioning just the experience you will have.”