Visit Buffalo Niagara, Western New York's primary tourism agency, opened its new downtown visitor center Tuesday, right in the heart of Lafayette Square.
VBN has relocated the center and its offices from the Market Arcade building on Main Street to the Brisbane Building at Washington and Clinton streets, across from the Hotel @ The Lafayette.
Officials cutting the ribbon Tuesday morning emphasized the new center's more visible, strategic location. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says it will be beneficial to area visitors.
"Most of VBN's business is actually done before people come into the community, trying to get the tourists here. But once they're here, sometimes [they ask] 'Well, what should I do today?' This is the perfect location right in central downtown Buffalo where they can find out everything that's wonderful about our region," Poloncarz said.
VBN President and CEO Patrick Kaler says the more central location will benefit from its closer proximity to downtown attractions like Canalside and HarborCenter.
"We're really excited at the opportunities this new location will provide us," Kaler said. "The opening of the center coincides with a new chapter in Buffalo's history, as the city and region gain a growing reputation as a tourism destination."
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said strong tourism is critical to the region's future.
"As part of the city and the region's business plan, tourism is a key driver. We have to continue to partner in every effective way we can to drive more tourism into our community. This new visitors center is an amenity that will help do that," Brown said.
The new visitor center is located on the first floor of the Brisbane Building, while Visit Buffalo Niagara's offices have moved into the sixth floor.