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Tourists may be able to find Niagara Falls more easily starting in June, following preliminary approval of a plan to give the city its own heading in the AAA's New York guidebook.

A recent policy change at the American Automobile Club that had put Niagara Falls under the heading for Buffalo in the widely circulated guidebook had raised the ire of hundreds of Niagara County businesses, concerned that travelers would not look for Niagara Falls under Buffalo.

A heading in the club's early 1997 guidebook reads "Buffalo-Niagara Falls & Vicinity (Niagara Falls, Ont.)"

The prevailing sentiment here prompted a letter from the Convention and Visitors Bureau earlier this year, requesting that Niagara Falls get its own heading.

Bureau Director B. Jo Fisher told Niagara County Tourism Advisory Board members Monday afternoon that the change is tentatively scheduled to take place in time for the second printing of the New York TourBook in 1998.

AAA of Western and Central New York President and CEO Marguerite Dispenza Hambleton told the bureau late last week that the auto club had given the change tacit approval, Stan Rydelek of the bureau said Monday.

"The AAA is so important to us, because 80 to 90 percent of our visitors drive in from a 500-mile radius," Rydelek said. He said he hopes the change, expected to take effect in June (1998), will reach the majority of visitors who drive to Niagara Falls in the summer months.

The proposed change would list Erie County towns under the Buffalo vicinity, while Niagara County towns would be listed under Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Niagara Falls, Ont., in the book.

The club is still working out the details and looking for advertiser input on the proposal, Rydelek said.

No changes have been scheduled for the Canadian Automobile Association's Ontario guidebook, as Niagara Falls remains under its own heading in that publication.

In other business Monday, the Niagara County Tourism Advisory Board approved a resolution asking the County Legislature to send a formal message of support for continued ease of passage across the U.S.-Canadian border, in the face of federal legislative proposals to require anyone entering the United States to show identification before being allowed in the country.

Eastern Niagara Chamber of Commerce President David Kinyon suggested the resolution, adding that the requirement would be disastrous locally, forcing slowdowns on all U.S.-Canadian bridges.

Recalling recent efforts on both sides of the border to market Niagara Falls as one city, Bonnie Soley, tourism advisory board chairwoman, asked: "Could you imagine? One city with a river running through it, and people swimming across because they can't walk over the bridge" without having to identify themselves.

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