BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest travel weekend of the year. Visit Buffalo Niagara figured if passengers go through the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, then why not stick around for a while? Tuesday they unveiled a new visitor center to show travelers all western New York has to offer.
"Our goal with this store is to really service people that are coming into the market to get them around to where they need to be and to tell them about all of the great things that are happening here," said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen the President of Visit Buffalo Niagara.
Five million passengers travel through the Buffalo Niagara Airport year round. But when you break down the numbers, officials say one third of the travelers using the airport are Canadian.
"Canadians are a very vital part of our economy, but we've learned through our research that Canadians don't view us as a destination. They look at us as a place to go and do things, " said Cohen. "But we want them to really enjoy everything Western New York has to offer".
The new center will inform passengers about everything the Buffalo Niagara Area has from incredible art to entertainment. It also sells Buffalo themed items like t-shirts, jewelry and Kazoos and many of them are produced locally.
"Here we wanted things to be distinctive because one of the promises we make to our visitors is that Buffalo is an authentic real place, Buffalo for real. So what we've done is an outreach to local artisans" said Cohen.
The center is located on the secure side of the airport. Therefore after passengers go through security they can visit the center during their down time.
Construction on it began in the spring and finished in July. Visit Buffalo Niagara had a soft opening in the summer and has seen healthy profits since then. In fact Cohen said during the month of August the number of visitors they served at the new center equaled the amount their downtown facility does all year.
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