Cover Story

Building the Brand

Niagara Falls Tourism is taking Niagara to greater heights.

BY SCOTT LESLIE

There’s a reason why Niagara Falls is referred to as “The World’s Most Famous Address.” Renowned for its natural beauty, Niagara Falls is a first-class destination with something for everyone―whether it’s stunning retail outlets, four star hotels or spellbinding attractions. And no one knows those strengths better than the team at Niagara Falls Tourism.
Founded in 1966, Niagara Falls Tourism is the official tourism and marketing organization of the City of Niagara Falls. Led by President Jon Jackson and Chairman Wayne Thomson, the agency’s mission is to help build a strong brand for Niagara Falls and the Niagara Region, increase visits to the area, and generate economic activity.  That means maintaining a sharp focus on attracting the convention, tourist, and transitory consumer markets.
Spreading The Word
One of Niagara Falls Tourism’s biggest jobs is getting the word out on all the great experiences Niagara has to offer. In recent years, the Niagara Falls Tourism team has been busy selling the wonder of Niagara in markets like China, India, Germany, France and Mexico―and nurturing their ongoing relationships in the U.S., South Korea and Japan.
At Niagara Falls Tourism, its promotional initiatives include everything from attending local and international tradeshows to launching digital marketing campaigns to making targeted sales calls. The agency produces an annual Niagara Falls Visitors Guide to help people plan and book their stay in Niagara. Its website at www.niagarafallstourism.com also has a complete run down on local attractions, accommodations and package deals, averaging over 1.5 million visits each year.
But attracting attention is just the first step in the process. Niagara Falls Tourism also has a full team of professional planners on staff that can help clients plan their next meeting, trade show, special event, convention or vacation. In each case, the Niagara Falls Tourism planners design a memorable itinerary that will suit any interest, schedule and budget. The Niagara Falls Tourism can even provide inspection trips to certain clients so they have the opportunity to come visit Niagara personally, and review the area’s amenities before they bring their business to the area. 
Meetings, events and conventions have become one of Niagara’s fastest growing markets of late―and Niagara Falls Tourism prides itself on offering complete convention planning and support services for events in the greater Niagara area. They’re happy to help out in several key areas like hotel and venue selection, attendance building and site inspections. They also have connections to a range of suppliers that can provide everything from speakers and entertainment to audio visual services and promotional items.

World-Class Partnerships

Niagara Falls Tourism has always been committed to collaborating with its tourism partners to help encourage visits to Niagara.
For example, Niagara Falls Tourism is a proud membership-based organization. Any Niagara Falls-based company or agency that provides goods and services to tourists can join. Members can benefit by taking advantage of Niagara Falls Tourism’s many ongoing marketing initiatives, as well as other perks like business referrals, website advertising, social media notifications and exposure to members of the travel media.
Over time, Niagara Falls Tourism has worked closely with numerous agencies including Destination Canada, Tourism Partnership of Niagara and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation to help achieve its aims.
One of its key relationships is with the Scotiabank Convention Centre on Stanley Avenue in Niagara Falls. The 280,000 square foot facility is Niagara’s largest meeting venue, and has welcomed countless concerts, tradeshows and special events since it first opened in 2011.
The Scotiabank Convention Centre is led by President and General Manager Noel Buckley who came on board in 2015. Buckley brings considerable experience to the role, having served as president of Niagara Falls Tourism from 1995 and 2005 and returned to the Niagara area following a stint as president and CEO of Ottawa Tourism.
Recently, Niagara Falls Tourism moved its offices to the Scotiabank Convention Centre, enabling the agency to work hand-in-hand with the facility’s staff. The synergy between the two operations has also enabled Niagara Falls Tourism to take its goal of promoting Niagara Falls as a world-class meeting and convention destination to a whole new level.

A Time For Tourism
Niagara Falls Tourism has had great success at building the Niagara Falls brand at home and abroad―and in many ways, the product itself has never been stronger.
In the past few years for instance, the City of Niagara Falls has added several new attractions to the tourist landscape including the Hornblower Niagara Cruise and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! developments―not to mention the Niagara Parks Commission’s Zipline attraction that was installed in the spring of 2016.
Tourist traffic has also been on the upswing. Last summer, many tourists chose to stay closer to home with the favourable weather conditions and terrorist attacks overseas―much to Niagara’s benefit. This past year, overnight visitor totals reached 3.2 million people in the Falls, and many Niagara Falls’ tourist operators experienced a 15% jump in business.
Tourism has become a very competitive industry these days―and tourists have a world of options to choose from. But with the Niagara Falls Tourism team on its side, the Niagara experience is sure to get the attention―and the business―it deserves. BL