180102 Winter Niagara Falls 1

Views from Stedman's Bluff on Goat Island of the American Falls and Prospect Point beyond. Almost every year frigid temperatures transform Niagara Falls State Park into an icy winter wonderland when the mist of the falls is blown back, freeing on the landscape.

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, a new report from the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) shows that seven out of 10 Americans will not be traveling home for the holidays. The national study claims 72 percent of people are not going to travel for Thanksgiving and 69 percent won’t be traveling for Christmas.

Other parts of the report show that only three in 10 have taken an overnight trip since the pandemic began in March 2020.

John Percy, the president and CEO of Destination Niagara, said the numbers are a true reflection of what is going nationally, though Niagara Falls remains a rebel in the trend.

“I think as you’ve witnessed and others have witnessed in the last times we’ve spoken that sometimes our numbers are not reflective of what we’re seeing on a national basis,” he said. “That Niagara Falls is going against the grain, going against that national norm, because of our solid numbers that we saw over the summer period. We know the winter months are going to be slower than usual as we head into truly off peak season for Niagara Falls. So, we do know that.”

Percy remains unsure if these numbers will indeed hold true for Niagara Falls. However with restrictions in place and other travel advisories, he said it will be harder for people to travel.

With Niagara Falls serving as a great driving destination, there is still the potential for a light boom of travelers to come here in the winter months. He said the week between Christmas and New Year’s has been decent for Niagara Falls, something they are hoping will be a repeated trend from past years.

“A lot of times we do have a good week between Christmas and New Years where the kids are off from school,” Percy said. “That’s what were posing for this holiday period, is inviting the public to get away, even if they didn’t go visit friends and family, they can still get together as a family unit or an immediate family unit to travel into the destination. We’re also positioning the gift of travel, trying to get if people need gift ideas, giving the gift of travel. You can purchase a gift certificate at one of the hotels and give to a loved one for future travel so Tavel stays in the forefront of people’s minds.”

The holiday season is typically slower for Niagara Falls because it’s the beginning of the transition to the off season. For the most part, Thanksgiving weekend serves as an outlier from most weekends in November. For December, the week between Christmas and New Year’s usually is December’s outlier as well. An uptick occurs around the holiday period and visiting people for the holidays is common in Western New York.

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