I’ve maintained for a considerable number of years, going back to the 1970-80s when I worked in the Air Freight business, there is opportunity in tourism and we do very little to promote it or provide enough activities to attract long term travelers and vacationers.
A couple of months ago, my associate Attorney Jean Gittler and I crossed paths with two Russian travelers at Niagara Falls Terrapin Point. Their names were Dennis and Sergei. Both were employees of the City of Moscow municipal government. Both were in their mid-30s. This was their first overseas trip. A trip Dennis said was a trip of a lifetime. There were here for 16 days and chose carefully the sights they planned on visiting. New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago and Niagara Falls.
If you paid attention you did not see Florida, Texas, or Arizona. That’s because there are travelers who are interested in more. We need to find them, market to them, chase them and chase them hard.
I was reading the 2011 Market Profile for Russia prepared by the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.
It identified the Russian Traveler as:
66% – Leisure/Recreation/Holiday Travelers
19% – Rented a car
82%- Visited Restaurants
65%- Visited Historical Places
14 days- Average Length of Stay
35 – Average Age Female
36- Average Age Male
$51,000 – Median Income.
We have shopping, dining and historic sights. We need to package them and sell them. What we don’t have is direct air service into Niagara Falls. Local Business, Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Development Offices don’t seem to want to play hardball and pony up the cash to compete for a much greater share of the tourism market.
One way to get started would be to pursue Baltia Airlines. A start up based at New York’s JFK airport. The airline plans on initial service between JFK and Russia’s #2 city of St. Petersburg on completion of its FAA Certification process. Each group has funds available. There are bed taxes in place. Someone should get in touch with Baltia and offer to subsidize a JFK-Niagara Falls leg to its planned St. Petersburg flight. Properly presented the Rochester-Buffalo-Niagara Falls-Hamilton-Toronto region might have appeal to the airline.
One thing for sure, if the question is never asked and/or the offer ever presented the result will always be a negative.