The American Bus Association, which declared Niagara Falls' Festival of Lights the top tourist event in North America last year, opened its annual convention here Sunday with 2,000 delegates.
The week-long affair at the Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center, which will spill over into Buffalo and Ontario, is expected to generate more than $1.5 million in business.
After the convention opened with a Victorian Christmas party in the Convention Center, a 30-bus caravan carried delegates across the Rainbow Bridge to Niagara Falls, Ont., where they were feted at the Skylon Tower.
"Things have been fantastic so far," said George T. Snyder Jr., executive vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based association. "The people locally have been just phenomenal, everywhere I've gone on both sides of the border."
"The financial impact to the community for the week will amount to at least $1.5 million spent by the delegates," he said.
During the convention some 500 bus operators will be brought into contact with travel agencies, resorts, restaurants and hotels that want them to bring motor coach tour groups to their areas.
Seminars in the Convention Center will focus on personal development, marketing trends and the current state of the business.
Today the association announces next year's "Top 100 Events in North America." Mount Rushmore's year-long golden anniversary celebration has been named the top event in the United States, and the International Gathering of the (Scottish) Clans next August in Nova Scotia, the top event in Canada.