As with just about any significant project, having a master plan is usually a smart idea. This could apply to transportation, or infill development… or tourism. With that in mind, Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) is embarking upon the creation of a ten-year Destination/Tourism Master Plan. In order to flesh out this tourism “roadmap,” VBN has hired MMGY NextFactor, which is considered “a leading advisor in travel and tourism who has delivered insights and strategies to more than 250 destinations across the globe.”
Of course this plan will take a look at this city’s greatest assets, including its architecture, the waterfront, the Olmsted parkways and parks, the culturals, restaurants, and so forth. The plan will also determine the best way to capitalize on Buffalo’s reputation as a city to turn to for world-class leisure, meetings and conventions, and as a sports destination. Over the course of 6 months, VBN and MMGY NextFactor will turn to residents, community leaders, tourism stakeholders, and public officials, to determine best destination/tourism practices, as they apply to the city. This process will be guided by a steering committee composed of county and industry leaders
“We’re looking forward to working with the talented team at MMGY NextFactor,” said Patrick Kaler, President & CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara. “Tourism continues to play a significant role in the future prosperity of Erie County. This process is an important and strategic investment that influences how Visit Buffalo Niagara and our partners promote the county moving forward.”
“The short-term recovery and the survival of the Buffalo Niagara region’s visitor economy are absolutely critical for the future prosperity of the county. However, we must also utilize this time to think about how we can build back better and create a more resilient visitor economy,” said Paul Ouimet, President of MMGY NextFactor. “We have an opportunity to rethink the way we approach tourism to ensure that it will make the Buffalo Niagara region a more sustainable place, enrich the lives of local residents, and deliver a financially self-sustaining tourism sector in the longer term.”
In order to get back to the business at hand – continued capitalization upon the tourism foundations that have been built for decades – the decision was made to engage a leading consulting firm with a solid international track record. Come to think of it, we should be doing the same thing with a number of other community assets, including what to do with the Scajaquada Expressway and The Skyway. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to world class consultants that can infuse new ways of thinking and planning into stalled or stymied processes. It will be interesting to see how MMGY NextFactor’s participation will influence the discussions and sculpt the future of tourism for years to come.
“The good news is that the assessment showed we are in a good place from a destination perspective,” Kaler said. “With that in mind, the process throughout the assessment was to come up with some next steps — what can we do to better position the destination for the future.”