Thomas Cook Airlines seeks route proposals between Europe and North America

Thomas Cook AirlinesRoutesonline announced that Thomas Cook Airlines seeks route proposals for new service  between Europe and North America.   According to Routesonline:

The first RFP covers existing network points seeks proposals for additional frequencies to current long-haul destinations in their network out of new European departure airports that can be served by their B767-300 or A330-200 through a W-pattern.  The second will look at the opportunity for new routes between Great Britain, Central or Northern Europe and airports in the Americas, Africa and Asia Pacific that can be served by B767-300 or A330-200 equipment, preferably from the hubs in Frankfurt and Manchester

This could be an opportunity for international service from Niagara Falls International Airport as Pearson International Airport in nearby Toronto, Canada is not served by Thomas Cook.


Tourists from South America visit Lockport Locks.

I work for Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises during the summer tourist season .  Yesterday’s Memorial Day tourist season kickoff saw a large group of tourists arrive from South America to take the cruise.  Last year I had the opportunity to be with groups that came from Puerto Rico, Colombia and Spain.

This large group of tourists included a number of families with young children.   Sadly I don’t speak Spanish.  A few of them spoke English, including their guide.  What a super friendly and pleasant group of people.   They appeared to be enjoying their visit.  Unfortunately, they all arrived by bus from NYC where their vacation began.  Too bad there is not much of an effort to entice the big tour operators to begin their foreign visitor tours via the Buffalo or Niagara Falls’ airports, heading to NYC from here instead of vice-versa.  If tourist groups could be enticed to spend just one extra day in the area it would be a big plus for the local economy.


What to do in Niagara USA May 17-22, 2013

What to do in Niagara USA…..May 17 – 22, 2013

May 17:  Endangered Species Day
DeVeaux Woods State Park, 3180 DeVeaux Woods Dr., Niagara Falls
6:30pm. Join a park naturalist and learn the ‘who, what, where and why’ about endangered, threatened and special concern and extinct animals in NY. For information and registration call 716-282-5154.

May 17:  Fireworks Display
Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls USA
10pm. View the beautiful fireworks display, as well as the illumination!

May 18:  5th Annual Run with the Rapids ($)
Old Falls Street, 101 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls. 716-278-2100
9am. Put your running sneakers on and enjoy a run or walk around Niagara USA! Registration begins at 7:30am. For additional information visit

May 18:  Relay for Life ($)
Old Falls Street, 101 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls
12pm. Old Falls Street is going purple! An event that celebrates cancer survivors, remembers and honors loved ones and fights back against cancer.

May 18:  Niagara Bicycle Ride
Devil’s Hole State Park, Robert Moses Parkway, North of the Falls
10am. Bring your bike and enjoy a leisurely ride along with river with stops along the way! For information and registration call 716-282-5154.

May 18 – 19:  NY Heritage Weekend
Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., N. Tonawanda. 716-693-1885
12pm. Celebrate the carrousel’s legacy in the Tonawandas! Enjoy free admission and a variety of fun crafts for the kids!

May 18:  Serenata Celeste Dinner Theater Event ($)
Niagara Arts & Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls. 716-282-7530
6pm. Celebrate the Italian American culture with the NACC! Tickets include dinner, tax and tip.

May 18:  Wine & Food Pairing Event ($)
Midnight Run Wine Cellars, 3301 Braley Rd., Ransomville. 716-751-6200
6:30pm. Enjoy snacks, salad, main course, dessert and wine! Tickets on sale!

May 18:  Live Music at The Topper Social Club ($)
The Topper Social Club, 492-19th St., Niagara Falls.
8pm. Live music featuring Topper’s 40 Big Band night!

May 19:  Apple Blossom Festival
West Creek Rd. at Ide Rd., Newfane. 716-778-7197
10am. Country Fair at the farm village museum-barbershop, schoolhouse, blacksmith, printer, country store and more! Food, music, dancers, crafters, Civil War encampment.

May 19:  Fireworks Display
Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls USA
10pm. View the beautiful fireworks display, as well as the illumination!

May 22:  The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs ($)
Artpark, 450 S. 4th St., Lewiston. 716-754-4375
10am & 7pm. Enjoy two hilarious performances of the True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!

Nightly Falls Illumination
May 1 – August 15:   9pm – Midnight

Fireworks Schedule
Every Friday, Sunday & Holidays at 10PM

Ongoing Events in Niagara USA:

May 3 – June 9:  John Pacovsky Exhibit
Niagara Arts & Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls. 716-282-7530
A solo show representing hyper realism and surrealistic style paintings.

« Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation «
10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
1-877 FALLS US « « @NiagaraFallsUSA

Empire State Tourism Conference: Wed to Fri, May 1st to 3rd, 2013

Empire State Tourism Conference

SAVE THE DATE: Wed to Fri, May 1st to 3rd, 2013

The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls and the Sheraton at the Falls
Niagara Falls, NY

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Tourism Provides the Strong Economic Foundation in New York State.

EmpireTourConfLogoCroppedDownsized.jpgWe welcome you to this 7th annual state-wide tourism industry conference, presented and hosted by the New York State Travel & Vacation Association (NYSTVA) and the New York State Dept. of Economic Development Division of Tourism. We are now the “I Love New York” Empire State Tourism Conference!

The New York State Travel and Vacation Association represents diverse aspects of the tourism industry, including Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, Municipalities, Tourism Promotion Agencies, service providers, and owners and employees of lodging properties, attractions and restaurants.

We are continually updating this website with conference details. Please be sure to check often. Or, follow us on Facebook where we’ll post notices of updates as they happen.

Have a question or idea? Contact NYSTVA at (888) 698-2970 or

We look forward to seeing you there!

apple image courtesy & copyright New York Apple Association

Are Western New York leaders pursuing PeoplExpress or Pan American Airways.

Two LCCs, Low Cost Carriers are in the works.  Each using a familiar name – PeoplExpress and Pan American.  Are Western New York leaders pursuing either? Each are planning on entering service within the next 12 months.

Three days ago Global Travel Industry News reported:

Pan American Airways has entered into an operational agreement with a premiere consultancy boutique, that will provide comprehensive in-depth services to complete a formal reintegration plan for the Pan American brand into many LCC and Charter markets as a provider of US Part 121 scheduled services, with a projected point of entry taking place in late Q4 of 2013 through late Q1 of 2014

Pan American is currently active in pursuing hub locations throughout various southern tier states, and will release decisions through upcoming media press statements in future content

according to Pan American Airways Global USA’s Facebook page it is ” based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is an airline holding company that owns the brands of Pan American Air, Pan Am Airways, Pan American Global Airways, Pan Am 21, Blue Sky Airlines, Pan Air, and Clipper Cargo Air Freight.”

The new PeoplExpress Airlines ia based in Newport News, VA and has already announced it first destination airports:

Five days ago the Pittsburgh  Business Journal reported

PEOPLExpress, the discount airline that wants to fly to Pittsburgh and a handful of other cities, said it’s one step closer to starting.

The Virginia-based airline said over the weekend on its Facebook page it had a “firm purchase agreement to acquire an existing certificated airline that will serve as a solid foundation for the launch of our scheduled model.”

Mike Morisi, president of PEOPLExpress, said in the post that he expected to be able to announce the acquisition “over the coming weeks” but didn’t offer any more details.

As mentioned in the Business Journal Pittsburgh is one of the startup cities along with Newport News VA, Providence RI,  and  West Palm Beach FL.  Pittsburgh  is also promoting itself as a future hub.

PeoplExpress plans to get in the air through the purchase of a yet unnamed charter airline.  This would give it FAA flight certification.

At the moment I am awaiting a response from PeoplExpress if anyone locally has been in touch with it about service to Buffalo-Niagara or Niagara Falls International Airports.

Note: (4/28/13) –  Mr. Morisi has responded to my inquiry.  He says “…we have talked with them and will be looking at opportunities for those markets later this summer as we structure our route plan.  Thank you for your interest.”


Niagara Falls was likely impacted as visits to Canada by American travelers decline for February 2013.

Niagara Falls was likely affected as visits to Canada by American travelers decline for February 2013. For those unaware, the United States shares a 5,525 mile (8,891 kilometer) border with Canada. During February 2013 four million American travelers were on the move. The U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI) reported their destinations as:

  1. Mexico, 42%
  2. Europe, 13%
  3. Caribbean, 12%
  4. Canada, 12%
  5. Asia, 8%
  6. Central America, 5%
  7. South America, 3%
  8. Middle East, 3%
  9. Oceania, 3%
  10. Africa, 1%

Obviously fun in the sun was on the minds of a majority of Americans as Mexico and the Caribbean received 54% of American travelers. Comparing February 2012 to February 2013 it would seem that Americans by a small percentage chose not to leave the country. U.S. travel to overseas markets totaled 1.82 million, down three percent in February. The destinations for those that traveled were:

  1. Mexico, 1.7 million travelers, flat; however, air travel (530,000) was up one percent
  2. Canada 526,000 travelers, down two percent; air travel (189,000) also down two percent
  3. Caribbean, 512,000 travelers, down five percent
  4. Europe, 481,000 travelers, down three percent
  5. Asia, 298,000 travelers, down six percent
  6. Central America, 203,000 travelers, flat
  7. South America, 139,000 travelers, flat
  8. Middle East, 109,000 travelers, up four percent
  9. Oceania, 57,000 travelers, up six percent
  10. Africa, 23,000 travelers, up four percent

Total Overseas travel was down one percent year-to-date; though statistics are not available it is safe to assume these winter stats indicated a traveler decline at Niagara Falls.

Fortunately the area is only one month away from the official start of the 2013 season begins.

When it comes to visiting Niagara Falls the question of “Which Side” always comes up.

When it comes to visiting Niagara Falls the question “Which Side” always comes up.  I am always looking for material that promotes the area.  In the course of my scanning the web I came upon a rather interesting travel blog review from Sept. 12, 2011.  The review,  written by travel blogger Joanna Haugen on her website Kaleidoscopic Wandering,  appeared under the title ” U.S. vs. Canada: Which Side of Niagara Falls Should You Visit?

Click in the link.  I hope our friends in both Niagara Falls, NY and Niagara Falls, ON find it both informative and useful.

Note:  Joanna is based in Las Vegas, NV.


Maid of the Mist construction project at Niagara Falls to continue.

Construction of the Maid of the Mist boat landing at the site of the old Schoelkopf Power Plant in the City of Niagara Falls is set to continue. New York State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto has agreed to permit construction by the Maid of the Mist Company.   I’m sure the issue will continue on in the courts and I am hopeful that the Maid of the Mist Falls cruise boats have found a home.  There is plenty of room in the gorge and enough tourists for more than one business to handle.

In 2009,  I had the opportunity, along with Kelly Kukucka and Karl Barna, to hike into that portion of the gorge on a now rarely used and rigorous hiking trail leading to the Schoelkopf  Power Plant ruins. We were led by a state parks’ naturalist because we had been directing work crews renovating hiking trails at Whirlpool, Devil’s Hole and Artpark State Parks. I am certain none of the Maid of the Mist opponents and new preservationist group have ever visited the site.  I am equally certain they had not previously been interested in the area until now and all the talk of millions of dollars..

There are 1930s era WPA constructed hiking trails to Schoelkopf which are covered by a number of very large boulder rock slides. The base of the plant is covered in rubble. It is currently inaccessible to the every day tourist.  The power plant itself collapsed in 1956 when when the whole gorge wall gave way.  I feel a clean up  of the area will commence.   Click the link to read about the Schoelkopf disaster.  It is rather interesting.

This project will do more to generate public and tourist awareness for this location than there has been over the past 57 years. Once the project is completed and people get down there for the boats, they will be will be fascinated by the beauty and the views.  They will begin advocating for more and better access.  It will lead to restoration of well prepared trails. Rebuilt trails could potentially make it possible to hike and/or fish the gorge all the way from the base of the American Falls Observation Tower down to Whirlpool St. Park and the Robert Moses Power Plant in Lewiston some 7 miles distant.  The  gorge has the potential to be a great addition to the Niagara Falls experience.  It is quite beautiful and dramatic looking at the Falls from above, from below at the Cave of the Winds, from the Maid of the Mist, and hiking the gorge.  The whole tourist experience will benefit and local history will be learned in the process.



Learn the Culinary Arts and Winemaking business in Niagara Falls

People visiting the  international twin cities of Niagara Falls do not know that it is a place where you can learn to develop high quality Culinary Arts and  Winemaking skills.

The cross-border neighbors  offer  young men or women an educational opportunity build a career  in the global food and beverage portion of the  travel and tourism industry.

On the American side of the border within a 10 minute walk of the Falls can be found the Niagara County Community College “Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.”  A 90,000 sq. ft. learning center that contains 7 commercial kitchens for use by  culinary, baking and pastry arts students.

Their website proclaims:

The Niagara Falls Culinary Institute is like a five-star restaurant … where every course matters. Our Culinary Institute gives students the tools for a successful career, from experienced faculty, in a beautiful, newly renovated facility. For visitors, we offer the most unique of experiences … from your dining pleasure to learning how to create something new in the kitchen.

Featuring state-of-the-art kitchens and its own restaurant, bakery, deli, wine boutique, TV studio, gift shop and Barnes & Noble bookstore, NFCI is the next wonder of the culinary world. Explore NFCI today and we’ll help you develop a taste for the extraordinary.


The Niagara Falls Culinary Institute is located at 28 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14303. Our reception desk is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM (EST).

Phone: 716-210-2525

Interested in becoming a student?

For information about NFCI, contact our Student Service Advisors.

Looking for information on a particular NFCI Program?

Contact Chef Mark Mistriner, C.E.C., Business & Hospitality Division Chair, by phone at (716) 614-6456 or via email

On the Canadian side of the river lies the attractive Welland Canal city of Welland, Ontario.  It sits 10 miles distant from Niagara Falls and is the home to Niagara College.   To the north of its campus you can find the Niagara Escarpment, a roughly 200 foot drop down to the Lake Ontario Plain below.  a narrow 7 mile wide by 40 mile wide area with a micro-climate and soil for growing some spectacular winemaking grapes.   To take advantage of this unique environment, Niagara College offers Canada’s only fully licensed educational winery where an individual can earn certification in winemaking.  The College reports-

This certificate prepares individuals for an exciting career in the viticulture and winemaking industry. Curriculum covers the aspect of the business and science of wine-making.

Possible Entry level career options include:

  • Oenologist – serving as a professional winemaker to test grapes, ferment the juice, oversee cellaring and manage storage and maturation of the wine
  • Vineyard Manager – a wine professional in charge of selecting different crop varieties, planting grape vines and pruning crops each season
  • Cellar Manager – a wine professional responsible for storing wine so that it reaches full maturation, overseeing sales and providing tours for vendors and guests
  • Cellar Hand – an assistant to the cellar manager who oversees the operations of the cellar, manages inventory and coordinates day-to-day operations
  • Wine Researcher – a wine professional responsible for conducting field research studies to learn about the soil and vine preservation opportunities
  • Expert Winemaker/Enologist – a wine professional responsible for the actual making of wine and spirits; may have a strong background in physics and chemistry

Possible career paths include:

  • Supervisory positions within the wine industry
  • Cellar hand
  • Vineyard worker
  • Laboratory technician

Certificate Benefits

Credits earned from successfully completing this certificate can be applied for credit towards Niagara College’s full time wine and viticulture post secondary programming.

For Further Information

Niagara College Continuing Education Email: Web: Phone: 905-735-2211, ext. 7510.

  • Start your own wine label

  • Winery Retail

  • Wine Event Consultant / Wine Business Consultant

  • Wine Columnist / Journal writing

  • Buyer Retail / Wholesale

  • Hotels / Resorts

  • Resident Restaurant Expert

  • Prerequisite for Sommelier

  • Wine and Beverage Management

  • Wine Sales

So there you have it.  Two more adventures to be had along the the USA-Canada Niagara River Region.