The numbers are in and tourism is booming in downtown Niagara Falls. The number of visitors are up 154 percent from last year according to USA Niagara Development Corporation. The agency also says there have already been more visitors this year then there were in all of 2014.
"This is a time to be excited and a part of this vibrant growing area," said Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development.
"It's booming because we finally started treating the tourism seriously as an industry," added Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
Playing a role in the tourism upswing has been the development of Old Falls Street. Thousands of visitors are finding their way from the state park to the new attractions, restaurants and programming in the downtown district.
"Old Falls Street was enjoyed equally by visitors and local residents who gathered to enjoy all the free activities," said Jason Murgia, the general manager of Global Spectrum, which oversees the district.
More people are coming to Niagara Falls and more people are staying. Hotel occupancy is up 5 percent from last year with more than 1,000 new hotel rooms set for construction. The spike in tourism is bringing new jobs and creating a new confidence in the area.
"People who are not invested in this market if they want to get in on the ground floor they better get moving. Things are changing here very rapidly," said Mayor Dyster. "The skyline of Niagara Falls will be changing as more and more of these developments are taking place."
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