Visit Buffalo Niagara sells and markets our assets and attractions to visitors outside the Buffalo Niagara region as a convention, tourism and leisure destination for the economic benefit of the community. VBN is Erie County’s lead marketing organization for conventions, meetings, amateur sporting events, cultural and heritage tourism and consumer travel.
Visit Buffalo Niagara was incorporated on March 4, 1987 and is governed by a Board of Directors responsible for the administration and operation of the organization.
VBN employs a staff of talented tourism professionals dedicated to promoting tourism and accomplishes this by soliciting national, state and regional meeting planners, motor coach tour operators, travel agents and independent consumers. In 2013, $1.6 billion dollars in traveler spending occurred in Erie County, generating $196 million in tax revenue. That’s $517 in tax savings per household in Erie County.
How is Visit Buffalo Niagara funded?
Erie County provides an annual grant to Visit Buffalo Niagara, and this funding comes from visitors themselves when they stay in local hotels. In 2013, over $9.75 million was collected in “bed tax” and $3.3 million from that pool was provided to Visit Buffalo Niagara for all marketing and sales efforts.
What is the return on investment?
In 2013, Visit Buffalo Niagara booked meetings, conventions and athletic events worth $120 million dollars to the local economy. What this means is for every $1 in grant funding received, $27 was returned in contracted visitor spending. This does not include spending by cultural travelers which is harder to track. This growing segment of affluent travelers does spend big, about $1,000 per visit.
You can review the 2014 annual report here.
But return on investment and tax relief is only part of the story. Tourism means jobs for local residents. 29,635 people in Erie County are employed in tourism or tourism-related jobs.