NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Niagara Falls businesses, from hotels, restaurants, to attractions, are facing tough financial times. But despite the situation, the Honeymoon Capital of the World is optimistic. There are reasons to have hope.
“You know it really is severe. We're down to almost very little tourism if none at all,” said John Percy, the president and CEO of Destination Niagara USA.
Tourists from around the world pumped $750 million into the Niagara Falls USA economy in 2018. That amount of money will drastically decrease in 2020.
“This summer is not going to be like summers of the past,” said Percy.
Frank Strangio is the co-owner of Wingate by Wyndham in downtown Niagara Falls. It's one of his three businesses.
“It’s going to be difficult, and I think it's going to be slower everywhere than it ever has,” Strangio said.
But he remains hopeful. Businesses are working on plans to social distance upon opening.
“What we're doing on our part is getting ready for that recovery. We will be here when things turn around,” said Percy.
There is a chance tourism returns to Niagara Falls faster than other destinations. Strangio said just look at the past.
“With SARS, with economic downturns, with 9/11… in all of those cases the Niagara Falls market rebounded more quickly, maybe a little better than other markets had,” Strangio said.
“Because of our accessibility, our affordability, and being able to hop in a car and get here,” said Percy.
“I don’t want to get on an airplane and fly to a location that may be a little less safe. Niagara Falls is the perfect opportunity to get in the car for three hours and get to a location where I know I'm going to be safe,” Strangio said.
Niagara Falls isn't an urban setting which helps too.
“We're an outdoor, natural, easy to spread out location,” said Strangio.
That's why... They say they hope tourists return quickly.
“I always believe we'll come back stronger, we just have to have a positive attitude,” Strangio said.