Visit Buffalo Holds Travel Industry Summit


Tourism and hospitality leaders, including our own Harry Schmidt, from across the United States experienced the rebirth of Buffalo, New York, firsthand at Visit Buffalo Niagara’s Travel Industry Summit on Oct. 18 and 19.

The summit, the first of its kind held in the area, gave leading travel experts the chance to tour the region and provide feedback to the local tourism industry on positioning Buffalo for continued growth as a leisure, convention and amateur sports destination.

Buffalo has undergone fascinating chances in recent years, with a revitalized waterfront, restored architectural finds, thriving arts scene, new and updated meeting and sports facilities and a surge in new hotels, restaurants, breweries and distilleries. Visit Buffalo Niagara decided to host a travel summit with the leadership of national travel and tourism associations to display and spread the word about the transformations underway. VBN developed the summit during the development of its last 5-year strategic plan.

Attendees included:

  • Cathleen Domanico, Vice President of Global Trade Development, Brand USA
  • Patricia Rojas-Ungar, Vice President of Public Affairs for the U.S. Travel Association
  • Michael Jacobson,  Senior Director, Industry Relations and Political Engagement, U.S. Travel Association
  • Nina Winston, Executive Vice President of Global Strategy & Membership, Destinations International
  • John H. Graham, President and CEO, American Society of Association Executives
  • Al Kidd, President and CEO, National Association of Sports Commissions
  • Harry Schmidt, President and CEO, Religious Conference Management Association
  • Ronald Melton, Chief Operations Officer, International Association of Venue Managers
  • Catherine Prather, Executive Vice President, National Tour Association

On Thursday morning, the summit’s guests participated in a US Travel Association “Travel Talk” with New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul; Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo; Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. They also spoke to Visit Buffalo Niagara’s industry partners at a luncheon on Thursday.

“This summit provides an incredible opportunity for our resurgent destination,” Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. “Our partner attractions across Buffalo can learn from leading travel and tourism experts on how to best position Buffalo as a visitor destination. And our visiting guests are leaving here energized and ready to spread the word about our destination’s exciting resurgence to their networks across the United States.”

Debbie HochstetlerRCMA News