Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 10

Niagara Falls
is the nation's
oldest state park,
and the grounds
were designed
by Frederick Law
Olmstead.

160,000 visitors. Of the county's annual
$752 million in tourism spending, more
than 10 percent-$88 million-came from
those groups.
Percy says such tours are "essential"
and "a pivotal consumer market" for his
county. "Niagara Falls USA loves group
tours," he says. "I hope the pent-up
demand we see with consumers who
drive their own vehicles will penetrate
10

DESTINATIONS

/SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2020

the group market as well, and groups
will again feel comfortable getting back
on buses."
He believes the world's best-known
waterfall will "capture some summer
business," and the fall season will be
stronger than previous autumns. So far,
this has been Niagara Falls' worst year
ever, he says, with business down at least
90 percent this spring.

COURTESY OF NIAGARA FALLS USA; NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION, AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION.

During the
COVID-19
lockdown,
the Falls were
illuminated
purple to honor
hospitality
workers and red
during National
Tourism Week.

More than 16,000 local jobs depend
on tourism, and county unemployment
stands at more than 50 percent, according
to Percy. He is a key player in ReStart
Niagara, a tourism industry task force
that is coordinating how local venues
might reopen.
"People want to get things open, and
can we do this in a safe way?" asks Rich
Andres, Niagara County's economic
development chief. "There's an old saying:
safety and freedom. You've got to balance
the two. If you have all safety, you have
no freedom."
When the shutdown hit in mid-March,
Niagara Falls USA's media campaign
pivoted to be "more soft and inspirational," says Percy. A 15-second social media
video showed water going over the Falls,
as if to say, "take a deep breath, because
people's anxiety levels were rising at such
a fast pace."
The Falls, which are illuminated every
night, stayed lit during lockdown to
support local and global tourism and got
a rousing response. The waterfall turned
purple to honor hospitality workers and
went red during National Tourism Week.
"I couldn't believe the response we got on
our live post. I've never seen such wonderful comments," says Percy.
While the open expanses surrounding
the Falls are perfect for those observing
social distancing, the fate of indoor
attractions lies in what Percy calls "a
fuzzy crystal ball." It remains unknown
what percent of occupancy the state of
New York will allow, or what mandates
venues might impose on themselves.
He has high praise for New York's leader. "Gov. Cuomo took swift action to guide
us through one of the most catastrophic
times of our lives. He's done a stellar job
providing leadership," says Percy.
If the virus has a second wave and the
government orders another lockdown,
Percy worries the damage could be "permanent." He notes that sales tax revenues
have plunged as dramatically as the Falls.
"The crushing effect of that is going to be
really severe, and that's going to affect all
of us." -George M. Spencer



Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020

Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - Cover1
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - Cover2
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 1
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 2
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 3
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 4
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 5
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 6
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 7
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 8
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 9
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 10
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 11
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 12
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 13
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Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 16
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 17
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 18
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 19
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 20
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 21
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 22
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 23
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 24
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 25
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 26
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 27
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 28
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 29
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Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 33
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - Insert 1
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - Insert 2
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 34
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 35
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 36
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 37
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 38
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 39
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 40
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Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 42
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Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 56
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 57
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 58
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Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 60
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 61
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Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 64
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - Cover3
Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - Cover4
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