By DON GLYNN
Niagara Gazette — Some 40 writers and representatives from tourism organizations are attending the four-day Travel Media Showcase & Family Travel Conference that opens today in Niagara Falls.
Activities and special events hosted by the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. have attracted travel writers, bloggers, broadcasters, social media specialists to the Conference Center Niagara Falls, Third and Old Falls streets.
Among speakers will be travel editors of the Los Angeles Times and USA Today as well as National Geographic Traveler Editor-in-Chief and author Keith Bellows.
In addition to seminars and presentations at the conference center, the group will participate in activities showcasing the overall region. Away from the meetings, the itinerary will include a tour of Niagara Falls State Park, a ride on the Maid of the Mist sightseeing boat and a trip on the Whirlpool Jet Boat. Also, a luncheon is set at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute and a candle lit tour at Old Fort Niagara will offer a glimpse of the Haunted Fortress at the landmark site.
A group of reporters will tour the Canal Region where they will be told about the Erie Canal, the Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises and the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride. Visits to the Kenan Center in Lockport, and the Herschell Carrousel Museum, North Tonawanda, are slated too.
NTCC CEO and President John Percy said the agency looks forward to highlighting the entire region, with emphasis on new attractions, to the top family travel writers, "Traveling families make up a large portion of our visitorship to Niagara USA and with Niagara Falls, N.Y., being among the top 10 domestic destinations, it makes sense that we host this third annual Family Travel Conference," Percy added.
Michelle Blackley, interim director of marketing for the NTCC, noted that among the activities for the attendees is a reception and dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Becker Farms & Vizcarra Vineyards where the guests will sample the bounty from local farms. The evening will conclude with a bonfire.