With temperatures in the 60s Wednesday, there were more tourists than usual coming to see Niagara Falls. And in fact, there have been more tourists all December long. That is great news for the City of Niagara Falls that estimates that for all of 2015, tourism increased by close to 150% over 2014.
"I have talked to a couple of the hotels and they are sold out, many of them, for Christmas night and the weekend following the holiday," said John Percy, president of the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation.
Officials say traffic to the visitor center is up 245 percent this December thanks to the warm weather. Many people were out on Wednesday without jackets, and even wearing shorts, while visiting Niagara Falls State Park during the record high temperatures
"This is the time of year when we see maybe a couple people every single day, and we've already on the average are seeing about 40 to 100 people everyday," said Tina Mt. Pleasant, visitor center manager for the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation.
— Ed Reilly (@WKBWedreilly) December 23, 2015
Visitors to the Falls include locals, those back in town for the holidays, as well as visitors from across the state and around the country.
However, 7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly talked to several international visitors and travelers from out-of-state who planned trips and came hoping to see the falls covered in snow and ice.
"Came up here to see snow. Kids have never seen it before and it isn't looking so good," said Matt Kunda from Florida.
"I wanted to see the snow but unfortunately it doesn't have any snow," said Rozilma Dohonski from Brazil.
The expectations were raised because Niagara Falls received extensive media attention, through outlets like the Weather Channel, in early 2015 after weeks of sub-zero frigid weather nearly covered the falls completely with ice.
"If there is no ice to look at, it will certainly be a lot easier to spend extra time lingering at the brink of the falls this year than it was at a similar time last year when our temperatures were much colder," added Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
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