Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 16, 2013

A year after walk, Falls officials balance expectations, realities of Wallenda's walk

A year later, city leaders look forward to even more publicity during daredevil's Grand Canyon crossing


Niagara Gazette — Happily, city coffers will soon be replenished by about $89 million thanks to the payment of casino funds owed for the past four years, but withheld by the Seneca Nation until an agreement was reached with the state on Thursday.

The money will fortify the city’s marketing efforts, through it’s marketing agency, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., to the tune of about $5 or $6 million.

“After Wallenda’s walk last year we tracked all the media hits, and knew those would be logical places to put our marketing money,” said Mayor Paul Dyster. “But, just as the walk was happening, we were hitting rock bottom in terms of funding for the NTCC.”

“As money flows back into NTCC, they can go back and say, ‘which stones did we leave unturned. What didn’t we do for lack of casino revenue,’” the mayor added.

John Percy, the director of the NTCC said that the money will allow the city to advertise during the live Discovery Channel show.

“We were talking some TV commercials in some key markets,” Percy said. “Now we’ll be able to hopefully expand on that. We will look at how we can strategically capitalize on this as much as possible.”

Meantime, while city leaders and businesses report an uptick in tourism of about 10 to 15 percent, but no one questioned during a recent informal survey by the Gazette could attribute it soley to Wallenda’s walk last summer.

“This first quarter has been fantastic,” said Jeff Deming, general manager of the Giacomo Hotel. “I don’t know if I can attribute that to my friend, Wallenda or if it’s just brilliant marketing,” he joked, noting that the wirewalk topic certainly comes up quite a bit between staff and guests at the upscale boutique hotel. “For sure it was in the public consciousness, without a doubt.”

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