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New Web site touts cultural tourism

Regional cultural tourism leaders have a new Internet lure as they cast about for visitors.

NiagaraCulturalTourism.com, featuring information about 1,200 points of interest and activities from Hamilton, Ont., to Alfred University in Allegany County, debuted Thursday at a cultural summit meeting in the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum.

Mark Donnelly, the Web site's creator, predicted that arming visitors with information before arrival "will actually bring tourists down [to Buffalo] from Niagara Falls.

"This shows them there are things to do here beyond the falls. By the time they get to the hotel room and read the brochures, it's too late."

Donnelly, who devoted a year of volunteer efforts to building the site, included photographs of various attractions, site locators, visiting hours and ticket information.

Virtually every gallery, theater, performing arts group, winery, historical and architectural destination, public park and garden, museum and tour opportunity on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border will be showcased.

NiagaraCulturalTourism.com will link to the home page of each organization, as well as community Web sites, he added.

"It's very, very search engine-friendly," he said.

As a tool to draw tourists and tourist dollars, "it will be a force to be reckoned with," said Donnelly, who has publishing experience in Buffalo and Philadelphia.

e-mail: tbuckham@buffnews.com

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