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Buffalo teaming with New York City to boost tourism in both cities

The mayor of New York City has a message for tourists: Visit Buffalo.

In the coming months, bus shelter advertisements in the Big Apple will be touting Buffalo’s arts and culture, architecture and other virtues. At the same time, bus shelter and billboard ads in the Queen City will be touting New York City’s assets.

The tourism cross-promotion idea originated with Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. He received a favorable response from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and announced plans to bolster tourism between the two cities in the State of the City address in February.

“This is an exciting time to jumpstart a new partnership with Buffalo,” said Wiley Norville, de Blasio’s deputy press secretary. “The state’s second-largest city has always been a big market and a major entry point for tourists from Canada. But it’s especially advantageous now, with more economic development and activity happening in the city than at any point in recent memory. That’s a success story we want to be a part of, because when upstate thrives, New York City does too.”

Visit Buffalo Niagara, Erie County’s lead marketing and tourism organization, and NYC & Co., its New York City counterpart, will each oversee advertising valued at $150,000 until July 1, 2015, getting their messages out.

“This is huge for Buffalo to have this tourism promotion agreement with New York City, and to have New York City promoting the value of visiting Buffalo,” said Brown, who was to have signed the agreement today in Manhattan. However, the trip was postponed when a doctor in New York City tested positive for Ebola.

“Obviously, New York City is one of the most exciting cities in the world, and to have New York City recognize that this is now a time for extraordinary development in Buffalo is very exciting in terms of establishing Buffalo as a major destination.”

Brown noted that many area college and university students already travel between Buffalo and their homes in New York City and Long Island.

“This will really give us an opportunity to further showcase the tremendous development happening in Buffalo, and the transformation the city is going through that’s unlike anything we have seen in over 50 years.”

Tourism in Buffalo and Erie County is a $1.6 billion industry that brings nearly seven million overnight visitors for an array of cultural, historic, leisure and sports attractions, according to Visit Buffalo Niagara. New York City’s 54.3 million visitors generated $58.7 billion in overall economic impact in 2013, according to NYC & Co.

Patrick Kaler, president of Visit Buffalo Niagara, said in a statement that the initiative is an exciting one for Buffalo. “We’re grateful for this opportunity, and confident this creative partnership will drive even greater numbers of visitors to our region.”

email: msommer@buffnews.com