Niagara Gazette — The Niagara area is expected to roll out a welcome mat complete with sunny skies and pleasant temperatures for the long Independence Day weekend. The Fourth of July, as it’s also called, is traditionally the biggest and most profitable time of the year for the tourist industry.
“The outlook is certainly good for the weekend,” said Kirk Apffel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service-Buffalo Office. He said today should be mostly sunny and nice with the high temperatures in the Niagara Falls area mostly in the lower 70s. The forecast is similar for Saturday and Sunday, with the highs ranging from 78 to 82 degrees. Apffel said the tropical storm warning issued earlier for the East Coast is not in any way expected to impact Western New York.
“The weather, of course, is a major factor as always and it does look excellent for the visitors,” said John Percy, president and CEO of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. Percy noted that it was generally an average season until the past two weeks when the pace suddenly quickened.
“The summer seemed to be off to a slow start but when the school year ended, things kicked into high gear,” he said, noting families were more free to travel.
Frank Strangio, president of the Niagara Falls Hotel & Motel Association, said, “(The holiday weekend) looks very robust, with a steady demand on reservations.” He noted other hoteliers with whom he spoke shared his sentiments. The double holiday — Canada Day (Tuesday) and Independence Day — blend to make it a strong week for the tourist business here, said Strangio, who operates the Quality Inn, 7708 Niagara Falls Blvd. A glance at several properties showed that hotel rates for the long weekend would range from $90 per night to upwards of $300 for luxury suites.
Bed and breakfast operations also have gained in popularity over the past several years. Perry Jost, who manages the Elizabeth House, Buffalo Avenue, said he has been booked solid for the past couple of weeks. Late Thursday, he estimated that he had turned away more than 100 callers looking for rooms during the holiday period.