Niagara Falls will give $300,000 to Niagara Falls Tourism to market the city.
City council passed a motion by Coun. Wayne Thomson to approve the funds after a hearing a presentation from Jon Jackson, executive director of Niagara Falls Tourism.
Jackson said the $300,000 received from the city last year helped Niagara Falls Tourism acquire an additional $600,000 in funding from “regional, provincial and national partners.”
He said through those investments, Niagara Falls Tourism was able to engage in marketing activities that brought 14.5 million Americans to the city, a number not seen since 2002.
Jackson said tourism is “essential to the success of the city,” with more than 25,000 tourism-related businesses, creating more than 42,000 jobs with an average income of $46,000 and subsidizing property taxes as much as $500 per year.
Jackson said $300,000 is just 0.2 per cent of the city’s budget directed to an industry that brings 41 per cent of the city’s operational revenue.
“These are 30-cent dollars,” said Coun. Wayne Thomson.
“If you can’t understand this, you haven’t got a clue what goes on in this community.”
Thomson said he was glad Jackson brought up average annual income.
“People used to say to me ‘tourism — minimum wage jobs’ — every time you build a 30-storey hotel, you get the manager making $120-150 (thousand), you got mechanics, you got electricians, you got maintenance. You’ve got great paying jobs … I think this is a no-brainer … if this was denied or turned down … you’d have more people going to Project Share than you can imagine,” said Thomson.
Coun. Mike Strange said not to support tourism advertising would be “crazy”.
“Niagara Falls is tourism,” said Strange.
“If we didn’t do this marketing … it would be like the council in Waterloo not supporting their tech industry, which is just humungous and has made that region, that city, just massive.” said Coun. Mike Strange.
“Take the OLG fund for instance — $25 million this year — and say we didn’t support this, which I think would be crazy, and we lost the visitors coming here next year and they didn’t come to the casinos … and all of a sudden our $25 million went to $22 million.”
The money will come from the OLG fund, and is additional to the $360,000 Niagara Falls Tourism charges the city as an operating fee.