It’s going to be somewhat of a long and painful road back to economic recovery in Buffalo. One of the ways to rebound faster will be to concentrate on fortifying the tourism department, once people are traveling again in a post-pandemic setting.
This city’s tourism sector was holding its own in 2019, as we can readily see via the “business review” statistics released by Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) a few weeks ago. Now, the challenge is going to be to focus concerted efforts on getting back to speed, when travel restrictions in the Buffalo Niagara region are lifted, and when the Canadian border reopens.
In the meantime, VBN is calling upon industry representatives, to strategically plan for the reopening of the region. To begin, the primary directive will be to reopen tourism related business and attractions that will then help to fuel the rest of the tourism economy. The industry partners and community stakeholders participating in this bolstering effort include Gardens Buffalo Niagara, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Darwin Martin House, Larkin Square, Bison Baseball, Westin Buffalo, Marriott Harborcenter, M&T Bank, the Oishei Foundation, and Erie County.
When a ‘new normal’ emerges in the coming weeks and months, Buffalo and Erie County will be prepared to compete with other destinations.
“While it remains inadvisable to travel to Erie County at this time, Visit Buffalo Niagara is committed to providing the leadership necessary to help revive our tourism economy,” said Patrick Kaler, VBN President and CEO. “There are many public health questions and safety concerns that need to be addressed before we can expect to re-open, but it is not too soon to position Buffalo for post-pandemic success in the tourism marketplace.”
Similar to most businesses and organizations around the world, VBN is in the process of restructuring its own budget and operational routines. In VBN’s case, the organization is dependent upon elevated hotel occupancy tax collections to operate at a stepped up capacity.
“As always, the safety and well-being of our customers and the 30,000 workers who are the backbone of Erie County’s tourism industry will be of paramount concern as we begin this process,” Kaler added. “Researchers forecast consumers are going to return to brands they trust. We are going to do everything we can to ensure that Buffalo Niagara is one of those brands.”