Niagara Gazette — “That’s a big problem, not only for the city of NiagaraFalls, but for the whole region because this is the place where people walking out of the park and crossing over from Canada get their first exposure, not only to the city of Niagara Falls, but to New York state and even in many cases to the United States of America,” Dyster said.
The mayor said that the city has started in the right direction with projects like the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, but that it needs to continue investing and building critical mass downtown.
“Niagara Falls is a very famous place,” Dyster said. “It can be either an anchor holding our region back or an engine pulling it forward. There is no middle path. We are determined to make Niagara Falls an engine not an anchor.”
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, president of Visit Buffalo Niagara, said that the tourism industry employs around 45,000 people in the region.
“While it’s true that entry level jobs in tourism are not the highest paying jobs in the sector they are jobs that put people back into the labor force with minimal training and no real capital investment,” Gallagher-Cohen said. “In cities like Buffalo and Niagara Falls where poverty is an issue that’s a really important asset that’s not to be overlooked.”
Gallagher-Cohen stressed that continued investments in infrastructure and assets of the region will help the tourism industry continue to produce revenues for the state.
“We really believe that the proper investments in Niagara Falls, New York coupled with our assets in Buffalo would give us a world-class destination where tourism would continue to have a major, major role here,” Gallagher-Cohen said.
Cuomo also reaffirmed his commitment to investing $1 billionin Western New York over the course of the next five years, despite having asked congress and President Barack Obama for $42 billion in federal disaster relief to help deal with the damage done downstate by Hurricane Sandy.