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.


Some great people are participating in “Cycling the Erie Canal.”

Fifteen years ago the 400 mile 8 day “Cycling the Erie Canal” event got off the ground.  It was the brain child of Parks and Trails New York.  I had the opportunity to come across slightly more than 300 of the 400 riders participating in this tour.  They were at the Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises on Market St. in Lockport.  The riders had a box lunch and took the one hour forty-five minute narrated cruise upon the Erie Canal and through Locks 34 and 35.

This was not a group  composed of only hardcore, technically equipped cyclists.  They came in all sizes, men and women, regional residents, from across the nation, several Europeans and a good number of our Canadian friends and neighbors.  I surprised  to see old dudes like me and children who seemed to be in the are area of 8 years of age.

What a pleasant experience it was getting to speak with a number of this adventurous travelers.

But like all things, this is just not a get on your bike and ride event.  Parks and Trails New York has a guidebook telling everyone how to get ready and what to expect.  I’ve read it and now I am wondering is this something I need to put on my bucket list of things to do.  This group has 5 days left on their journey, I hope they continue to have a great time.



After 41 years as Dortmund’s sister city, Buffalo is not in their development plans.

After 41 years as Dortmund’s sister city, Buffalo is not in their development plans according to Dortmund’s Economic Development Agency.  You would think that after having becoming  partners pair in 1974 or 1977 there would be some type of visible and active business relationship.  The two cities don’t even agree with the year that they became sisters, or twinned as they say elsewhere in the world.  Dortmund claims 1977 while Buffalo says it was 1974

Dortmund’s Economic Development Agency ( claims:


As part of our international activities we inform you about your chances. We provide you with our services to help you to enter foreign markets.

We provide you with support in your search for international cooperation partners.

We advise you and arrange contacts to EU-oriented consulting institutions. We are pleased to pass on our experience with applying for and running EU projects together with information about EU funding opportunities.

As a member of the network of large European cities EUROCITIES we maintain links to over 100 major cities in Europe. Regional focus

The City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency arranges sustainable business cooperations and in Dortmund’s partner towns in particular. The current key regions are:

  • Leeds, Great Britain
  • Xi ‘an, VR China
  • South Korea

The concept behind sister cities goes back to the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower and is wonderful.

Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for individual sister cities, counties, and states across the United States. This network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in programs in 136 countries on six continents.

Sister Cities International helps advance peace and prosperity through cultural, educational, humanitarian, and economic development efforts, and serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices to benefit citizen diplomats. Sister Cities International empowers individual citizens to become diplomats and represent their community and their country in new and meaningful ways.

We also strive to strengthen the sister cities network through strategic institutional partnerships, grants, programs, and support for our members. We motivate and empower private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders to conduct long-term, mutually beneficial, sister city, county or state relationships.

But why have them if you are just going to collect them like figurines for the living room shelf?


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.


Borussia Dortmund, a missed a German marketing opportunity.

Borussia Dortmund, a missed a German marketing opportunity.    There was a two week buildup to the biggest football (soccer) match of the year on the European football calendar.  It  took place at London’s Wembley Stadium. Two German clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich were competing in the finals of the European Cup Championship.

This was the first time two German clubs had ever faced each other in the European Championship match.  The match was played in London between  the two German clubs in front of   86, 298  spectators.  The match was sadly was won by Bayern Munich 2-1 over Borussia Dortmund.  It was the last match for Bayern’s 68-year-old manager, Jupp Heynckes, who is retiring and will be replaced by Pep Guardiola for 2013-14.  It had a worldwide television audience,  was well-played, fast paced and dramatic event of  David vs Goliath proportions.  Bayern Munich has a global following, has won five European Cups and  is loaded with money.  Borussia Dortmund on the other hand had won the title once (1997), plays in the largest football stadium in Germany, is on the rise, and is the eighth largest city in Germany five steps below Munich at number three.  Borussia Dortmund is also the only publicly traded club on the German stock market.  It is a people’s club.

Borussia DortmundSo how did Buffalo miss a marketing opportunity?  Buffalo and Dortmund are Sister-Cities.  They have been Sister-Cities since 1972, that is 41 years.  The  Buffalo Mayor’s office did not send at comment of support to the mayor of Dortmund.  The local media did not contact the Dortmund media about the match.  The local business community offered no congratulations, support or encouragement.  Even after the match, the Buffalo News and local television stations gave the score but never made mention that there was a Buffalo connection to the event.  The sports “reporter” on WGRZ  read the results and made no effort to find a way to pronounce the name of  Dortmund’s  goalscorer, İlkay Gündoğan (Il-kay Gun-do-gan).  We are a multi-ethnic community, what does he do?  He made a joke about it, how professional.  Ilkay is German born of Turkish heritage and Buffalo has a Turkish Sister-City – Yildirim-Bursa.

I believe the problem is that the Sister-City program is off little interest to Buffalo’s public and business communities.  No one knew Dortmund was a  partner.  Some may find this accusation absurd.  For me knowledge and using that knowledge, including sporting events, to  get our community in front of  people in a positive light is invaluable.  The USA and European Union are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement.  We should be preparing for it by developing increased contacts with our long time sister,  or twin as many call the arrangement, Dortmund.

Buffalo has ten Sister-Cities, three in Europe – Dortmund, Germany – Lille, France and Rzeszow, Poland.  I have a feeling we have do a poor job promoting and discussing these relationships  in the interest of  public, cultural, business, trade and travel opportunities.

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

Apples and Theme.jpg

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

Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises add a paddle-wheel boat to its canal fleet.

Mike and Sharon Murphy, the owner operators of Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises have added a paddle-wheel boat to their canal fleet.   They have purchased a 76 foot long, 150 passenger paddle-wheel boat from Uncle Sam Boat Tours  in Alexandria Bay, NY.   Uncle Sam is a major player in the 1000 Islands – St. Lawrence River tourism business.

This investment is another in a series over the past several years that have transformed their business into a major local attraction.   Within in the next few days Capt. Mike will leave for Alexandria Bay with a crew to bring the boat to the area.  The sailing route will take them across Lake Ontario, Welland Canal, Lake Erie and the Niagara River.  The boats are to be refurbished for service on the Erie Canal at Smith Boys on Tonawanda Island.


The problem with airport “sequestration” cuts is not “sequestration” but the hub and spoke system.

The problem with airport “sequestration” cuts is not “sequestration” but the hub and spoke system.   The hubs are packed with flights.  More flights than their host cities could possibly need on their own.  They are where problems for the rest of us begin.

Prior to the 1978 deregulation of the airline industry there was a rather strict system of airline international, national and regional routes.  While the airlines were growing during the 1920s to 1960s period it worked rather well.  The coming of the 1970s saw the airlines enter a phase where they started claiming that they were no making money.  They claimed competition would make them profitable and service would improve for the public. Congress and many of us bought into the argument and the airline industry was deregulated in 1978.

Since 1978  all the airlines went to a hub and spoke system.  Southwest Airlines the last hold for point-to-point routes has begun “transferring” passengers at Chicago Midway, Baltimore, Phoenix, Las Vegas, etc.  The competition airlines spoke of was an illusion.  Start up carriers were either  purchased or run out of business by short-term predatory seat pricing by the big boys.  Small cities lost flights entirely,  medium-sized carriers and some oldies (Pan Am) folded.

Competition dried up, leaving the United States with 4 major carriers each shuttling passengers through airports in which you must travel.  Those are the airports where your bags get lost.  Those are the airports where there are weather delays happen.  Those are the airports where the flight you were waiting for at home was cancelled because the plane did not arrive from some other hub airport.  And all the while the airlines continue to claim poor profits.  What a crazy system.

The Western New York media has been very vocal in mentioning that sequestration will not affect the operation at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.  While that may be true for the airport, passengers flying out of BNIA pretty much is required to pass through a hub airport en-route to anywhere.  So hold onto your bags and hope for the best.  The hub and spoke system will be shown for what it is – convenient for the airlines, profitable for the hub airports but a real problem for the airline customer.

Flights From Buffalo, NY

Flights from Buffalo 001


Service from Buffalo, NY

Airline: Airtran # American* Delta JetBlue Southwest # United USAir*
Destination Hub City
Atlanta X X Yes
Baltimore X Yes
Boston X X Yes
Charlotte X Yes
Chicago/ORD X X Yes
Chicago/MDW X Yes
Cleveland X Yes
Detroit X Yes
Fort Myers X X No
Ft. Lauderdale X X X No
Las Vegas X Yes ^
Minneapolis X Yes
Newark X Yes
New York/JFK X X Yes
New York/LGA X X No
Orlando X X No
Philadelphia X Yes
Phoenix X Yes ^
Tampa X X No
Washington/DCA X No
Washington/Dulles X No
West Palm Beach X No
# = merged airline * = merged airline ^ = transfer city

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.