With the sun glistening down on Hoyt Lake this morning and the reemergence of spring highly visible from the windows of the Marcy Casino, twenty-two Buffalo Niagara tourism attractions were "selling" their properties to over 40 group tour planners and operators from the Travel Professionals of Color (TPOC). This picture-perfect day provided the appropriate backdrop for the trade show and reception for the fast growing multi-cultural tourism market.
As part of the TPOC Annual Conference that came to Buffalo today, the purchasers of travel experiences are making stops at a variety of attractions throughout the week - including yesterday morning's event. Many who are attending the conference are required to book a future bus tour to Buffalo as part of their TPOC certification process. By hosting the TPOC conference and their 400 attendees, Buffalo will experience immediate and long-term benefits. The host city and its partners will have four days to network with attendees and showcase the region to a captive audience. During the event, the conference participants will have a chance to explore the region's African-American attractions, including the Nash House, Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Colored Musicians Club, and Underground Railroad themed tours.
Each year over hundreds of group tour buses make Buffalo their destination for a variety of groups. Travel industry standards proclaim that a bus group creates a $10,000 economic impact for every day they spend at a destination.
The African American travel market is growing at a tremendous pace and those consumers are searching for cities that feature experiences that celebrate their heritage. In November 2008, Buffalo became the second US city to be designated as an "Authentic African American Heritage Destination" by TPOC. Being labeled as an authentic heritage tourism site will put Buffalo at a competitive advantage in drawing many more visitors to our city.
The CVB began to focus on African American travelers and conferences in 2004. Since then there has been a 280 percent increase in African American bookings, accounting for over 10,000 hotel room nights annually.