Tag: boat tours

    Boat tour evaluations being done in secret

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Niagara Parks Commission is giving ‘top secret’ status to the proposals submitted for one of the most important business deals the agency will make. Bids to run boat tours on the Niagara River are under lock and key and being evaluated at a secret location by a team whose identities aren’t being released, said chairwoman Fay Booker.

    “They are moving along as anticipated. They are on schedule. They have not encountered any specific problems,” Booker told The Niagara Falls Review.

    Picking a company to run boat tours on the Niagara River — a move that could lead to a replacement for the famous Maid of the Mist — has been one of the most scrutinized decisions the government agency has ever faced.

    Bids received for boat tours below Falls

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    From the Buffalo News:

    A deadline to submit proposals to operate boat tours from the Canadian shore below Niagara Falls passed Monday, but the number of bidders and the names of companies that submitted proposals will remain secret for now.

    Niagara Parks Commission Chairwoman Fay Booker said the commission does not plan to release details about the proposals at least until after the commission has made its recommendation for what company should operate the tours.

    “Once we finish the evaluation process, we’ll probably be able to do a bit of a summary report in terms of how many bids came in and who the recommended proponent is,” Booker said.

    Deadline for boat tour bid Monday (yesteday)

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    (I know I’m late, but I still wanted to post it…)

    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    If you ever wanted to run boat tours on the Niagara River, Monday’s deadline day.

    Companies interested in winning a lease from the Niagara Parks Commission on the water-f ront landing needed to operate tours from the Canadian side of the Niagara River has until Jan. 31 to submit their bids.

    “I have no idea how big each of the proposals will be, but I imagine there will be a depth of information,” said Niagara Parks Commission chairwoman Fay Booker.

    NPC projects continue under temporary board, Booker says

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Two of the big projects on the plate of the Niagara Parks Commission will continue over the winter despite Monday’s turfing of four government-appointed commissioners and their temporary replacement by six senior bureaucrats.

    Chairwoman Fay Booker said a government-ordered competition to pick a company to run boat tours on the Niagara River is unfolding, as is a strategic planning exercise Booker launched earlier this year.

    The parks commission put the “final strokes” on its request for proposals Tuesday -the document private companies interested in providing boat tours will respond to.

    “Then it’s all in the hands of the bidders in terms of the bidding,” Booker said in an interview this week.

    Operators need to show innovation

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Weddings aboard a tour boat in the mist of Niagara Falls could become a new tradition depending on what “innovative” ideas companies propose in their bids to operate tours from the Canadian side of the Niagara River.

    “You can provide anything that you think will work,” said Bill Mocsan, a consultant hired by the Ministry of Tourism to help the Niagara Parks Commission pick a company to provide tours — a process that could end the commission’s historic tie with the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co.

    Mocsan, the government-appointed procurement specialist will draft the request for proposals for companies interested in winning the lease to run boat tours from a piece of parks commission property.

    Other possibilities could include hour-long cruises with hot meals. A snack bar on board. And night tours.

    The “preview” put up yesterday also has some videos…

    Seamless transition needed for Maid lease, tourism operators say

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    If it took White Star three years to build the Titanic, it shouldn’t take two years to build new boats to give tours of Niagara Falls, says Patricia Salci Mangoff, co-ordinator of the Preserve Our Parks group and a critic of the Maid of the Mist.

    During a Niagara Parks Commission consultation Wednesday, Mangoff challenged a consultant’s estimate that it could take at least two years for a new company to get up and running if it were successful in replacing the Maid of the Mist.

    “You have no concept how difficult it is going to be to get a new service provider,” said Bill Mocsan, a Mississaugabased consultant hired as a procurement specialist to help the Niagara Parks Commission conduct a competitive bidding process that could lead to a new company providing boat tours on the Niagara River.

    Maids enjoy favourable reputation

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Maid of the Mist is seen as an important part of any visit to Niagara Falls, tourists respect the name, and any interruption in its service would “negatively impact” Niagara’s tourism industry, a survey commissioned by the historic boat tour company suggests.

    The company hired Leger Marketing to survey 2,308 people on their impressions of Maid of the Mist, just as the Niagara Parks Commission is about to launch a government ordered competitive bidding process that could lead to a new company providing boat tours on the Niagara River.

    But the survey results were dismissed as self-serving, unscientific and meaningless by representatives of other companies interested in landing the parks commission lease on the property needed to run a boat tour operation, as well as by critics of the long-standing relationship between Maid of the Mist and the Niagara Parks Commission.

    Williams goes out fighting

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The way Ontario Tourism Minister Monique Smith wants to tender the right to run boat tours on the Niagara River will harm the Niagara Parks Commission, Niagara Falls’ tourism industry and tourism provincewide, says former Niagara Parks Commission chairman Jim Williams.

    He’s not going quietly after resigning his $250-a-day government- appointed job Thursday over a dispute with Smith, the cabinet minister responsible for the parks commission.

    “If she’s willing to jeopardize the parks in this cavalier a fashion, I don’t want any part of the organization. This is a bad decision by the government and this minister,” Williams told The Review Friday.

    PARKS CHAIRMAN RESIGNS

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Jim Williams stepped down as Niagara Parks Commission chairman Thursday over a dispute with Tourism Minister Monique Smith’s support for him, and over his “grave concerns” about an historic bidding process she ordered that could see the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co., replaced as operator of boat tours on the Niagara River.

    “Given … your unwillingness to defend this commission against the false accusations levied against us, I can only conclude that I no longer have your confidence in this matter,” Williams wrote in a four-page resignation letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Niagara Falls Review.

    Maid of the Mist could migrate if it loses NPC lease, official says

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    For the 65,000 Koreans George Denning’s company brought to Niagara Falls last year, “Maid of the Mist” was what they knew. He predicted it would be “automatic” if they had to choose between the Maid of the Mist operating on the American side of the Niagara River and a new company running boat tours on the Canadian side, he said.

    “The whole thing is the Maid of the Mist. They’re not going to know some other company,” said Denning, a New York City tour operator for Dongbu Travel and Tours, the second-largest travel agency in South Korea.

    Maid of the Mist is a name Canada’s tourism industry banks on. The thought of it becoming an American-only experience has city councillors wondering if the provincial government is jeopardizing the industry by inviting other companies to vie for the right to run boat tours from the Canadian shore of the Niagara River.

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