Business View Magazine | December 2020

271 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2020 NI AGARA FALLS , ONTAR IO you factor in the 14 million visitors, it gives us a weird mix and unusual things happen. We knew we were at risk because of the massive amount of people that come to Niagara Falls. There were predictions of “Florida north” but none of it happened. Even the critics were saying we were just lucky – but seriously, lucky for three months? I don’t think so, I’m not that lucky. “Collectively as a destination, we worked hard, did a good job, and kept our numbers as low as any other city that doesn’t get tourists. There was a lot of proactive planning by good, dedicated people. Of course, we were worried… in Niagara Falls, we have 40,000 people counting on tourism to put food on the table. Failure was not an option. And closing down the destination was not an option either. We had to open up safely. And we’re proud of the outcome.” BVM: With the Canada/U.S. border closed has regional visitor traffic increased? Mayor Diodati: “Definitely. Labour Day weekend was as busy this year as any other year. Typically, 25 percent of our guests come from the U.S. So, we were happy with the numbers because a lot of Canadians that would normally cross the border stayed here. The other thing that stings about the border piece is although the U.S. represents 25 percent of our guests, they represent 50 percent of the revenue. So it’s a significant piece of the cash flow that didn’t happen. We definitely miss the Americans but we cushioned the blow with Canadians visiting their own destination. “Obviously, it wasn’t a great summer; it will definitely be marked with an asterisk. A lot of people were hurt and are still hurting and some businesses never made it. But it could have been much worse, given the fact that we got hit from both sides. The fact that tourism was shuttered for a great deal of the summer, and people are discouraged from visiting – certainly