Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 7, 2009

TOURISM: NTCC’s worth doubted

Frustrated over what they feel is unfair treatment, some Niagara Falls Tourism Advisory Board members want the city to cut back on the funding it provides to the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.

Councilman Samuel Fruscione, who serves as liaison to the tourism board, told members earlier this week he wants them to review the city’s contract with NTCC and “find a way out of it.” Casino money and hotel bed tax from Niagara Falls make up the majority of NTCC’s annual funding, and as a result, Fruscione and others believe the Cataract City should be awarded a greater focus in the agency’s promotional efforts.

“The two questions we want to answer are, is NTCC living up to its contract and is there a way we can get out of it?” Tourism Board Chairman Jerry Genova said. “We’re giving money to them to market Niagara Falls and we’re not getting anywhere close to what we’re paying for. This is a scam outfit and we need to do something about it.”

NTCC receives $1 million each year from the city’s share of casino funds. Legislation also mandates they receive hotel bed tax money collected by the city. That amount ranges between $800,000 to $1.2 million, bringing the city’s average contribution to about $2 million annually, said NTCC President John Percy. By comparison, Niagara County contributes about $95,000 a year.

Percy defends the agency’s efforts, saying the main focus has always been Niagara Falls and the majority of advertising and promotions are done within a 350-mile radius.

“Their complaint, to me, is unfounded and without merit and detail,” Percy said. “Everything we do promotes the City of Niagara Falls. The core goal is to drive traffic to the city and county of Niagara.”

Fruscione and Genova said the money given to NTCC each year would be better spent on fixing roads and making the city more attractive to visitors.

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