Tag: wayne thomson

‘One of the best years’ for tourism

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

A co-ordinated marketing campaign and hosting a live American talk show helped make for another great tourism season in Niagara Falls.

“I just talked to one of the major players the other day, and he said he was up 10 per cent last year, and he’s up 10 per cent this year, so that gives you a very good idea,” said Niagara Falls Tourism chairman Wayne Thomson.

He said the heart of the tourism sector — Fallsview, Victoria Centre and Clifton Hill — was regularly jammed with people during the traditional busy season May 24 to Labour Day.

“People right from Clifton Hill, right down to Table Rock — people walking up Murray Hill — it was just constantly loaded,” said Thomson.

Woodbine casino ‘tough news’ for Niagara Falls

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

A world-class casino at Woodbine Racetrack in north Etobicoke is bad news for Niagara Falls.

“But, you know, thank God, we have the falls here, the wine country and all kinds of great, other attractions and amenities that make people from Toronto want to get out of Toronto, and come and enjoy a different atmosphere,” said Niagara Falls Tourism chairman Wayne Thomson.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. announced Tuesday the winner of a competitive bidding process to take over the running of OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack.

The winning bidder, Ontario Gaming GTA, a partnership of Great Canadian Gaming Corp. and Brookfield Business Partners, will also operate OLG Slots at Ajax Downs and Great Blue Heron Casino.

The announcement is expected to clear the way for a casino in Toronto.

Thomson said “it was only a matter of time” before a casino was announced for Canada’s largest city.

Strong tourism start despite surging dollar

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

A top Niagara Falls tourism official is not concerned about the Canadian dollar’s surge to US80 cents this week amid a weakened U.S. dollar and further signs of a strengthening Canadian economy.

“I don’t think it’s enough to discourage anybody from coming,” said Wayne Thomson, chairman of Niagara Falls Tourism.

“I think 20 cents on the dollar is really not bad. They’d prefer 30 cents on the dollar, 32 cents, but 20 cents on the dollar is a pretty substantial reduction on (Americans’) travelling (costs to Canada) … so I don’t think we’re in any kind of concern at this point.”

Halt development charges on new hotels: Thomson

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

A suggestion from Niagara Falls Coun. Wayne Thomson the city and Niagara Region put a moratorium on development charges for new hotel developments is a “really interesting concept,” says regional chairman Alan Caslin.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Caslin told Thomson when he recently updated local politicians about several regional council activities.

“Development charges, as you know, are meant to offset the cost of the infrastructure in the ground and on the streets. Let’s look at it with a lens of what does that infrastructure cost, really, instead of just the cookie-cutter development charge — what’s the real cost of that infrastructure, and is that substantially less than what they would have paid, and is that a benefit that we might be able to afford through economic development.”…

Thomson said Niagara Falls has 27 hotel development projects on the books “that have been approved and ready to go,” but have not proceeded.

City wants local voices on NPC board

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

The city wants two vacancies on the Niagara Parks board of commissioners to be filled by local residents and not “provincial bureaucrats” from outside the region. Read More…

CLOSEUP: Casino Niagara turns 20

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Some were fearful and skeptical.

Others excited and optimistic.

Wayne Thomson, mayor at the time, was caught in the middle, trying to convince the former group to join the latter.

“I was a little nervous about running again for mayor,” says the current Niagara Falls city councillor.

“But I came out extremely strong (reelected mayor by acclamation). In fact, I still remember one ad. I was full length, standing along the one side of the Review, talking about getting a casino and voting for the referendum.”

In November 1994, 64 per cent of Niagara Falls residents who voted in a referendum said yes to casino gaming.

A year later, Ontario Casino Corporation announced a commercial casino would be built in the Honeymoon Capital.

Casino Niagara opened Dec. 9, 1996 — 20 years ago, Friday, on the site of the former Maple Leaf Village near Clifton Hill.

Falls tourism set to flourish this summer

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

All signs point to a perfect summer tourism season in Niagara Falls.

Redeveloped and new attractions, a favourable U.S. currency exchange and weather forecasts, and the first good indicator: One of the best Victoria Day long weekends in recent memory.

“I heard at least one person say that he felt he was 30 per cent up from last year on the holiday weekend,” said Niagara Falls Tourism chairman Wayne Thomson.

“That is unheard of. It was probably one of the best ones we’ve had.”

Lots and lots of links about the Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) in Niagara Falls

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If you are interested in Niagara Falls, then you probably saw some of the articles that the Niagara Falls Review had about the Destination Marketing Fee (or DMF). It is essentially a fee that many tourism companies charge that can be used for whatever that company wants. It is not a true tax, there is no industry standard for how it is used, and it annoys a lot of people.

Here are links to most of the articles (all of them from the Niagara Falls Review:

DMF: The hidden fee (Part 1)

It is the first day of March break, and the hockey moms aren’t happy.
They’re spending the week in Niagara Falls for a tournament, and they’re stumped about a mysterious charge that keeps appearing on their bills.
As they sit in a lobby overlooking Fallsview Boulevard, there it is again on their Starbucks bill, an extra amount on top of the already inflated price they paid for coffee in the tourist district.
On a $14-bill is an extra $1.18 for something called a TIF. On other bills it’s called a PF. Or DMP. Or a DMDF. Or DMF.

DMF: The hidden fee (Part 2)

The provincial government has heard the complaints about the Destination Marketing Program.
Tourism Minister Michael Coteau was asked about the controversial fee during a recent visit to Niagara Falls. He admits there are issues that need attention, but didn’t outline a concrete plan to fix them.
“I’m exploring different ways to bring forward some more clarity on that one piece throughout Ontario,” he said, of what many perceive to be a lack of transparency around the voluntary marketing fee that businesses in tourist districts are allowed to charge, but which customers are also legally allowed to refuse to pay.

DMF: The hidden fee (Part 3)

Some of the biggest players in the Niagara Falls tourism industry don’t charge the controversial Destination Marketing Fee.
Niagara Casinos. Harry Oakes. Hornblower. The Niagara Parks Commission.
And some businesses in the Honeymoon Capital are going to put up, or are considering putting up, signs to let guests know they don’t charge it.

How to complain about the DMF

The DMF is a voluntary industry-led initiative for supporting regional tourism marketing, development.
They are voluntary fees, not taxes, and consumers have the right to ask to have the fee removed from their bill.
Province encourages tourism organizations and tourism partners to work collaboratively.
Participating businesses are required to adhere to regulations under Consumer Protection Act.
Consumers feeling misled can call with complaints and inquiries: 1-800-889-9768.

Falls councillors weigh in on DMF

“There’s just some concerns and I think it’s important the tourism industry come together and manage this before another level of government steps in and tries to manage it for them, and control it for them.” – Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati
“There seems to be some mystery that these people in the industry aren’t spending the money on marketing and events, and that is false.” – Coun. Wayne Thomson, who is also chairman of Niagara Falls Tourism

Ministry, tourism industry discussing DMF

The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and industry partners are reviewing the controversial Destination Marketing Fee.
Ministry spokesperson Denelle Balfour said the program is being looked at during ongoing focus sessions across the province.
She said the ministry is leading the development of a strategic framework for tourism in Ontario in collaboration with industry partners. As part of this work, the ministry is hosting focus sessions for members of the tourism industry, including in Niagara Falls.

Falls tourism stakeholders discussing DMF

Some of the big players in the Niagara Falls tourism industry are “talking seriously” about the Destination Marketing Fee, says Niagara Falls Tourism chairman Wayne Thomson.
“The major stakeholders are getting together and getting a legal opinion on the DMF details, and trying to come up with a format that is going to be certainly transparent, which we think it is now,” said Thomson.
“I can tell you that we are talking seriously about the DMF and trying to come up with something that is compatible with … (the stakeholders’) needs and their marketing efforts, and that is compatible with what the province would like to see.”
The dialogue is a result of Tourism Minister Michael Coteau’s recent visit to Niagara Falls, where he spoke to industry partners about many tourism-related topics.

EDITORIAL: Solving the DMF puzzle is up to the province

It’s starting to happen already – more tourists and customers visiting Niagara Falls shops and hotels are asking if they’ll be charged a destination marketing fee with their purchase.
And how are the desk clerks and wait staff and ticket takers supposed to answer?
“Well, we don’t charge it but the guy next door does.”
Or maybe, “we do charge it and so does the guy next door, but at least our fee is smaller than his.”

Halt development charges for new hotels: Thomson

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Niagara Falls and Niagara Region should put a moratorium on development charges for new hotels in the Honeymoon Capital, says Wayne Thomson.

The veteran city councillor said the time is right for the municipality and Region to take advantage of Americans flooding back to Niagara Falls thanks in large part to a favourable currency exchange.

“I think that there’s an opportunity here and this is not something that’s simple — it would take a lot of effort on behalf of (Mayor Jim Diodati) and the staff, working with the Region,” said Thomson during a recent council meeting.

Fall brings rising tourism expectations

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Continued, targeted marketing — and an influx of visiting seniors — should help Niagara Falls get through tourism’s typical off season, Wayne Thomson says.

The chairman of Niagara Falls Tourism said his agency, Tourism Partnership of Niagara and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation are ramping up their fall marketing campaign, particularly in the United States.

And while tourism usually slows down after Labour Day, Thomson said he’s noticed popular spots such as Queen Victoria Park and Clifton Hill are still packed with people.

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