Niagara Gazette

April 9, 2013

Schumer says Falls missing from national tourism site

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday called for the inclusion of Niagara Falls and Buffalo on a federally funded promotional website designed to spur interest in the nation's top tourism destinations.

In a letter to the head of the organization Discover America, which is responsible for oversight of the travel website in question, Schumer called for a greater emphasis on all there is to see and do in the Falls, Buffalo and surrounding region.  

“Although I am thrilled that BrandUSA has promoted some of New York’s most attractive tourist destinations, it is time that this federally funded tourism entity helps America discover the wonders of Western New York,” said Schumer. “Whether tourists marvel at the beauty of Niagara Falls State Park or study Buffalo’s historic architecture, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House and H.H. Richardson’s work, I have long suggested that folks visit Western New York whenever possible: I am urging BrandUSA to do the same through Discover America. I have long fought for federal funding for the region’s breathtaking sites, and now I am fighting for these wonders to receive a sufficient amount of publicity so tourists know where to go in Western New York.”

Brand USA was established by the Travel Promotion Act in 2010 to spearhead the nation's first global marketing effort to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and communicate U.S. entry/exit policies and procedures. 

Formed as the Corporation for Travel Promotion, the public-private entity began operations in May 2011 and does business as Brand USA. Brand USA works in close partnership with the travel industry to maximize the economic and social benefits of travel. Through its call-to-action—DiscoverAmerica.com—Brand USA inspires travelers to explore the United States of America’s boundless possibilities.

Created in 2010, Discover America provides promotional materials for travelers from all over the world to help plan trips to the United States. Schumer noted that Discover America does not include Niagara Falls State Park on its suggested trip list. In addition, the travel guide includes no mention of Buffalo’s historic architecture.

On the New York State page of the Discover America website, the list of recommended New York trips currently includes: The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Finger Lakes, Cooperstown, the Empire State Building, New York’s Art Museums, Harlem and Upper Manhattan, The Adirondacks, the Hudson Valley, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Times Square. 

By excluding Western New York’s most treasured landmarks in the suggested trips section, Schumer emphasized that Discover America is not doing enough to engage tourists across the world who are looking for destination hotspots for their vacation or travel needs. 

In his letter to Christopher L. Thompson, President & CEO of BRAND USA, Schumer urged that Niagara Falls and other destinations in the region be added to help spur additional tourism to the region, which would be highly valuable to local businesses, hotels, restaurants and other aspects of the Western New York economy.