“Now is not the time to make cuts to the arts, culture and entertainment,” DelMonte said. “They bring a sense of community, they bring a sense of hope.”
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, who spoke briefly before leaving to attend another meeting in Buffalo, reiterated his administration’s support to the city’s growing tourism industry.
“We need to defend the idea that tourism is an industry,” he said.
Getting a majority of state officials to invest in more tourism-related projects shouldn’t prove too difficult. For every $1 spent on promotion, there’s a return of between $7 to $11, according to state Hospitality and Tourism Association President Daniel C. Murphy.
“It’s an investment that turns over and over again,” he added.
The reception was organized by the state’s Hospitality and Tourism Association, Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., the Niagara Falls Hotel/Motel Association and the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce. Before it ended, those in attendance had a chance to address specific concerns. Questions ranged from the possibility of local hotels tapping into low-cost power to removing an extra transportation sales tax proposed in Gov. David Paterson’s budget.
One businessman argued the condition of Niagara Falls streets needs to be improved if the area is ever going to sell itself and make a positive impression on outside visitors. Addressing that question, Maziarz also criticized Falls government for having what he called “the worst roads of any city” in New York state.
Maziarz said a lot of the road woes can be traced back to the city deciding to use casino funds to build a “$50 million courthouse that should’ve only been $25 million.”
“That’s $25 million that could’ve been spent on fixing roads,” he said.