Niagara Falls has proven itself overtime to be an outstanding tourist location destination for visitor arrivals. When it comes to raw nature, not many other attractions can compare to Niagara fall’s scenic views; which have also been recognized as one of the ‘great seven natural wonders of the World. ’ After the Ice-age around 10,000 years ago, large glaciers melted; forming the falls that is known today throughout the Niagara region; which are located on the border of Canada and the United States of America.
Since first discovered and publicised by the European civilizations as early as 1604, the human race has travelled great distances to marvel at the 323 metre wide by 53 metre tall waterfall. The diverse and unique products offered here draw people from around the world and it is this; the uniqueness of Niagara Falls that cannot be found anywhere else, that largely defines why it has become such a good tourist attraction. However, as well as the actual product, in this case Niagara Falls, there are other main factors which can influence what makes a good tourist destination.
These factors can be placed into four categories; the organisation and its resources, the products within the attraction, the market that is targeted, lastly, the management and sustainability of the attraction. Through analyzing these factors and applying them to Niagara Falls, a conclusion with supporting evidence can be reached as to why and whether Niagara Falls is a good tourist destination. One of the key factors to the success of Niagara Falls as a tourist attraction can be put down to the fact that all of the attractions and experiences it has to offer are developed and financed by separate organizations.
This concept of having individual development and organizations fostering their own business gives the destination a distinct advantage. Firstly, it enables each developer to personally oversee their business. Because it is the developers own money being used, the project is likely to be given full attention and consideration, resulting in more opportunities being recognized as to where the best area may be to invest. As French, Craig-Smith and Collier (2000) pointed out; once the attraction or accommodation has been constructed it cannot follow tourist demand as it has a fixed location.
This further explains why separate development is more effective. In comparison, a large organization may focus on developing the destination as a whole which can lead to crucial details being over looked. Secondly, most developers have had significant experience within their specific industry. In the case of Niagra Falls, there are many different attractions within the destination, so it is an advantage to have separate organizations bringing their own set of skills to that area. This perhaps in turn, means based on experience, a more accurate decision can be made toward future development.
Thirdly, another advantage that separate developers bring to a tourist destination can be related to finance. Rather than having a large budget spread thinly over many attractions as can happen within a large organization, the individual attraction can be nurtured by its developer as seen fit based on the developer’s funds. According to the Niagara Falls review (2012), in 2012, after a careful evaluation of Niagara Falls forecasted growth in the accommodation sector, Canadian developer Michael DiCienzo chose to invest $800 million toward his hotels at Niagara Falls.
Funds were administered unsparingly and exactly where they were needed, contrary to what could be more likely to happen within a large organization. Through separate development, Niagara Falls attractions have been able to grow and prosper, therefore helping to point out as to why it has become a good tourist attraction. Another crucial factor to the success of Niagara Falls comes down to the large variety of products offered within the destination and its accessible location.
In no other place on earth, are you able to experience what Niagara Falls has to offer. The three falls themselves are the main attractions; however, many other activities and attractions have been set up within the destination. As a few examples, you could “take a classic Maid of the Mist boat ride in the morning and head off to a fast-paced Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour in the afternoon. An afternoon of souvenir shopping may be followed up with a night out at Fallsview Casino” (Niagara Falls Tourism, 2013).
The larger the range of products that can be offered directly relates to visitor numbers of a tourist attraction, which is why, according to Buffalo rising (2011), Niagara Fall’s average visitor numbers, are around 14,000,000 million. By looking at these numbers alone, it is hard not to acknowledge the success of Niagara Falls through its diverse range of attractions offered within the destination. Now, although the physical elements of Niagara Falls are crucial to the attraction, there are other aspects within the product that help to define why theNiagara Falls area has become the success it is today.
One of the main aspects involves the location of the attraction. Location has an immediate impact on tourist numbers, both domestically and internationally. “Niagara Falls is approximately 130 kilometres southwest of Toronto” ( TripAdvisor LLC, 2013, para. 5) and is a short driving or flying distance from New York, Detroit and Buffatitinalo in the United States of America. As a consequence the tourism catchment area for Niagara Falls is enormous because of its central location to major airports and cities.
With these aspects working together to provide easy access to this ‘one of a kind attraction’, there is no doubt about Niagara Falls being a good tourist destination. As a rule in tourism, one of the most important factors in the operation of a successful tourism destination; is to create exposure through marketing. The organization responsible for marketing Niagara Falls, called Tourism Partnership Niagara, has utilized the strategy of understanding local growth markets therefore tapping into where there is most likely to be the highest return of customers.
In Canada and America, Niagara Falls is a tourism icon; which is directly the result of this extensive marketing, so much so, that Niagara Falls has become a house hold name, especially to the targeted domestic tourists. This in itself explains why Niagara Falls over the years has grown to be such a good tourist attraction. Tourism Niagara Falls (n. d) “Of the more than 14 million annual visitors to Niagara Falls, 66% are from the United States, 26% are from Canada, of which 50% of the visitors live in Toronto area”(pg. 4).
As shown by these statistics, through the implementation of the Niagara Falls Tourism Association plan, tourist numbers from the main target markets, America and Canada, are as high as they have ever been in Niagara Falls. In comparison to another great waterfall of the world, such as Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, the differences or lack in marketing strategies are obvious. According to the Kaieteur national parks commission (2009), while insufficient funding, training and limited staff have not worked in Kaieteur Fall’s favour, the biggest challenge to aise awareness of Kaieteur Falls, has been the absence of advertising and a Tourism marketing Plan. As a result, even though Kaieteur Falls is recognized as one of the world’s seven great waterfalls, due to an inadequate marketing plan, it cannot even slightly compete regarding recognition in the marketing sector against the successful attraction that is Niagara Falls. The management of the Niagara Falls tourist attraction is also a leading factor to its success.
Because Niagara Falls consists of a number of separate attractions, management must be effective in order to ensure all areas are sustainable for long term tourism. According to Stange, Brown and Solimar (N. D), without the management of sustainable tourism, negatives can far outweigh the positives for the destination; local cultures can be disrupted, natural features can become disfigured and ultimately the revenues made may in fact disappear from the local community all together if not correctly managed.
This notion is further supported by Smith, Macleod, and Robertson (2010), whom explains that without responsible ecotourism, the lives of future local generations will be compromised. Therefore measures must be taken toward sustainable tourism. This highlights the importance of the Federal Commission, whom is responsible for the management of Niagara Falls. As stated by the National Park Service (2013), the Federal Commission must collaboratively create a tourism sustainability plan, involving regular meetings with federal agencies, recognized tribes and at minimum, two consultations with the Niagara Falls community.
By collectively analyzing each view point from the above listed communities and organizations, the Federal Commission have the ability to create a comprehensive and effective sustainability plan which caters to all attractions and areas within Niagara Falls. With this in mind, to create a better understanding of why these techniques in management help to make Niagara Falls a good tourist destination; other natural attractions must be compared regarding sustainability management.
Bali’s Kuta beach is a prime example of a supreme natural attraction, which by not having a management plan has been exploited by an unsustainable tourist flow. In Bali, “while the government is taking steps toward a sustainable tourism future of Kuta beach, the most feasible path forward is still unclear” (Atmodjo, 2010, N. P). However the differences between the two attractions management and resulting consequences are clear. So it is through the collaborative efforts of the management of Niagara Falls, tourism related impacts have been minimised, furthermore defining why Niagara Falls is such a good tourist destination.
The uniqueness of the Natural wonder Niagara Falls has to offer has earned it a world renowned reputation as a must see destination. As stated by Collier (2007), having a good reputation is vital to an attractions success. To add to its reputation, other attractions surround the falls, making it a great tourist destination with an experience on offer to every kind of traveller ranging from the thrill seekers and even to the love struck.
But as this essay has explained, although the power and the beauty of the falls, in most tourists minds, are why they are attracted to it as a destination, there are four other factors which combine to create the complete tourist experience that Niagara Falls has to offer. The first factor is the organisation and its resources, from which Niagara Falls has a distinct advantage. It has separate investors and developers whom are experienced financially, focused and dedicated in their line of work.
The second factor is related to the products offered within the Niagara Falls location. Being centrally located to major cities such as New York, Toronto, Detroit and Buffalo creates a large tourist catchment area while the abundance of activities and experiences on offer has every tourist catered for. Thirdly, marketing is another main factor. Tourism Partnerships Canada has focused its efforts on the areas where people are most likely to be receptive to the idea of Niagara Falls as a tourist destination, these being Canada and America.
And lastly this essay explains the management and sustainability of an attraction as a crucial factor. The Federal Commission collaboratively collects, manages and analyses data from all attractions and walks of life throughout Niagara Falls, thus having the ability to form overall, the most sustainable plan for the future of Niagara Falls tourism. It is through these factors, in addition to the unique appeal of the falls themselves that the impression left on tourists and the world alike seems to be universal; Niagara Falls is a great tourist attraction.
Courtney from Study Moose
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