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Tourism site promoting region to foreign travelers

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The federal government is launching a new campaign to draw more international visitors to the region. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told reporters at Old Fort Niagara Monday the Greater Niagara Region will be featured as 'Trip Idea" on Brand USA's Discover America website. She says the new campaign will promote the region as an international destination.

"This has the potential to be a major economic driver. Tourism is already the top industry for our region, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and supporting thousands of local jobs," Gillibrand said.

Niagara Falls is among the top 20 destinations for overseas travelers. In 2012, tourists spent more than $490 million on travel expenses in Niagara County.

"So if you are a person who lives in England and you're saying 'I'd like to come to America. What are the five places I'm going to visit?' This one will be highlighted as a place where you could teach your kids about history, you can teach your kids about arts and culture that's exciting and fun," Gillibrand added.

"We've done marketing through our local tourism agency, but we can't reach the whole world," Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said. "This takes the effort to a whole new level."

Travel from the 40 countries with a Brand USA presence makes up 93 percent of inbound traffic to the United States. Just last week, the state announced its plan to attract more visitors to the region in a tourism summit.