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$300,000 Tourism Grant for Five Counties to Be Spent On a Tourism Study Overseen by NTCC 's Percy

John Percy

Last week, John Percy, CEO of the Niagara Falls Tourism and Convention Corporation, announced a $300,000 grant to be used for a study to try to learn how to better promote tourism for the five counties of Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany.

The grant, paid by New York State taxpayers, was awarded through the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. Percy is head of the tourism subcommittee for the Council.

Percy explained the grant will be used to develop a "branding study" that will take eighteen months to complete.

Once a consultant is selected, the study will seek to inform the five county government-funded tourism agencies what tourism attractions and amenities they have in their own counties, while suggesting a joint government-funded advertising theme for the agencies to promote under a common branding idea.

After a consultant is selected, we will attempt to inform our readers how much, if anything, his or her affiliated companies, employees and etc. have contributed to the campaign of Andrew Cuomo.

The study is likely to include a power point presentation with graphs and illustrations and will recite already published information about known attractions of the various counties, and postulate common ground among the places in the region, reached in part from conducting "focus" meetings with local people and interviewing visitors to the area, as well as potential visitors.

The summary will include several pages of suggestions on how to create a branding themed advertising program.

The study, if it is similar to thousands of others of the type, may run 60 pages, will appear not unlike an impressive final report made by a college student in the tourism and marketing classes at Niagara University and be likely as well informed since the consultant will not likely be from the area, have not actually personally visited most of the attractions, will probably have little or no experience in tourism as a business, having never made a living in the tourism industry, and have little or no experience in marketing and advertising, having never earned a living working in the advertising business.

The Reporter will attempt to provide its readers with a copy of the consultant's actual report when it is complete to demonstrate the truth or falsity of the above and the below:

As Mark Twain said, "A consultant is a man who borrows your wristwatch to tell you what time it is."

Percy reminded the local media that the $300,000 grant will be spent for the study only.

Any money to be spent for an actual implementation of a branded advertising program will be disclosed after the study is complete sometime in late 2015, if it is determined that the recommendations are worth dedicating money towards it and taxpayer money is available.

What is not likely to be explained in the study is why it is state government's job to promote tourism by taking money out of the paychecks of hard working people, many of whom could hardly afford to go on a trip themselves.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Feb 11, 2014