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A quartet of groups representing 3,440 attendees carrying a projected $2.19 million in economic impact signed in February to visit the Buffalo area within the next three years, the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau reports.

Tourism inquiries fielded during February dropped 36 percent from one year earlier, as both advertising- and non-advertising-generated queries fell substantially.

Two of the four groups inked last month dominated the bookings in terms of attendees and potential economic impact.

Both the NCAA Division III men's basketball championships, held earlier this month at Buffalo State College, and the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association Inc. meeting, set for mid-January 1998, each represented 1,500 attendees and economic impact of $957,000.

Combined, the four groups represent 2,790 room nights, where one room night is one room occupied one night. In February 1994, the CVB signed 19 groups representing 16,475 room nights.

A handful of groups notified the CVB in last month that they would not be visiting the Queen City soon. The five organizations represented 3,505 attendees and a projected economic impact of $2.42 million.

The largest no-show was the United States Confederation of Rollerskating, a Junior Olympic competition, set for six days in early September 1988. The organization would have meant 2,000 attendees traveling to the Queen City and environs, carrying a projected economic impact of $1.28 million.

The rollerskaters felt Buffalo did not have enough hotel rooms to handle its needs during the competition.

Through February, the CVB and individual hotels have amassed a business backlog through the year 2001 of 107 groups. The conventions represent 299,340 attendees and projected economic impact of $114.81 million.

Total tourism inquiries recorded in February were 2,594, off 36 percent from February 1994's 4,051.

Both solicited and unsolicited queries fell in February, as advertising-generated inquiries dropped 44.6 percent to 1,118 from 2,017, and non-ad-generated inquires fell 27.4 percent to 1,476 from 2,034 one year ago.

The huge decrease in solicited queries was attributed to a Canadian advertising campaign which ran in February 1994, but was discontinued this year due to the continued softness in the Canadian market.

Through the first two months of 1995, total inquiries are down 18 percent to 5,170 from 6,302. Solicited queries are off 24.1 percent to 1,963 from 2,588, and unsolicited inquiries are down 13.6 percent to 3,207 from 3,714.

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