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Congressman Brian Higgins Meets With Local Travel Leaders on the Economy

Aug 13, 2015
Press Release

Rep. Brian Higgins heard from advocates and businesses directly and indirectly impacted by travel at a roundtable event today in Buffalo designed to draw attention to the importance of travel to the regional economy.

Travel is one of the largest industries in the United States, employing more than 14 million Americans. In Erie County alone, more than 29,000 people are directly employed by the travel industry.

Congressman Higgins was joined at the event by local travel advocates including officials from Visit Buffalo Niagara, the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Buffalo Place and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. The meeting highlighted policies the region’s Congressional delegation can support in Washington to encourage travel, welcome more visitors, and generate economic activity at the local level.

“Travel and tourism is vital to Buffalo and our national economy,” stated Congressman Higgins. “I believe we must continue to find ways to grow productive, proven sectors like the travel industry, which already supports thousands of businesses, workers, and families right here in the Buffalo Niagara region.”

Congressman Higgins, a member of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, discussed federal policies and investments impacting the tourism industry in Western New York including: historic tax credits, infrastructure projects, US/Canada cross-border commerce, as well as efforts to improve the Great Lakes water and shoreline. 

“Congressman Higgins is a terrific advocate of regional travel and tourism related issues at the federal level,” VBN President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. “We know he will continue to support regional tourism in Washington as Buffalo continues to grow and develop into a premier travel destination.”

America’s travel industry has been critical to fueling our nation’s economic recovery. Job gains in the travel sector have outpaced other areas of the economy, and travel exports grew by $0.2 billion to $19.3 billion in June—a rise of 8.3 percent over the same time last year, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Increasing travel to the United States is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus—injecting billions into the U.S. economy and creating millions of new jobs here at home.

A walking tour of recent developments in Buffalo’s Convention Center District led by Michael Schmand, executive director of Buffalo Place, immediately followed the roundtable.

Today’s roundtable was hosted by Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN), which is Erie County’s Destination Marketing Organization charged with the development of meetings, conventions, and tourism-related business. The roundtable was part of VBN’s Customer Advisory Council, which convenes meeting planners from across the country to discuss best practices and methods for growing the region’s meetings and convention industry.