It was back in October when Niagara Falls was ranked at #5 as World’s Most Visited Tourist Attraction (see post). So it would make sense that the Buffalo-Niagara region is increasingly becoming a top overseas destination. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) has just released its “Overseas Visitation Estimates for U.S. States, Cities, and Census Regions” report for 2011, and in the report the Buffalo Niagara region made it in the top 20 destinations for overseas visitors… for the first time ever (see PDF report).
While Buffalo certainly is not commanding the tourism numbers that Niagara Falls does, the report opens more doors for this city to draw visitors from around the world. After all, if someone is coming from as far away as Korea or Scotland, it would only make sense that that person would look around for add-on destinations in order to enhance a trip. If Buffalo can manage to be that add-on, then the resulting perk is increased spin–off dollars. “This report confirms that Buffalo Niagara’s tourism assets – world-class art, culture, architecture, nature and history – are drawing the attention of overseas travelers more than ever,” said Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen. “In the past six months, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery has been the primary destination for visitors from Switzerland, Germany, England, Scotland, Spain, Japan, Belgium, Korea and France. Over the course of the last year, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House welcomed visitors from 30 countries, arriving from as far away as Denmark, Brazil and Singapore. If you thumb through the guest book at the Roycroft Campus, you’ll find names from France, China, Ireland and Germany – just since April.”
With increased marketing efforts aimed at the overseas visitors, Buffalo has a good chance to showcase its world-class architecture, Olmsted Parks System, luxury hotels (finally), waterfront amenities, etc. Now, if we could just figure out how to get tourists here from Niagara Falls effortlessly. Without inexpensive and easy-to-use transportation, Buffalo will continue to be out of sight, out of mind for many.