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Tourism workers familiarizing themselves with area attractions to better serve visitors

The visitors to some wineries in Niagara County Wednesday will be a little different from the usual. They are workers from other tourist attractions around the county.

"I always tell people you'll run out of time before you run out of things to do."

Destination Niagara USA has a new website to tell people the attractions of Niagara County that can be used on a smart phone. However, that is not the same as a tourism worker sharing their personal stories with tourists looking for places to visit.

On Tuesday, some tourism workers were on a bus roaming to the Kenan Center, Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises for lunch and then Becker Farms. Destination Niagara  Communications Director Andrea Czopp said tours and online training helps the business.

"This is for anybody who interacts with customers, with tourists, so that when somebody does ask that age-old question, 'Where else can I go now that I have seen the Falls?' There is no more, 'I don't know,' Czopp said, "and this couples very well with our EXP Program, which is our online training program that's also free for our hospitality and tourism employees."

Czopp said the attractions visited on these familiarization tours vary from year to year. That means, every year, the business tourists visit different wineries.

"We can't, unfortunately, get to every winery every year," she said. "So every year that we have planned this, we've tried to stop at different wineries just so that anybody that might be on the tour again for the third year has the advantage of experiencing all of the different wineries."

However, she said this week's familiarization tour will visit everything from the Castellani Art Museum to the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute to the Herschell Carrousel Museum. The goal is to make sure workers and supervisors in the tourism business have all the tools they need to ensure people stay for that extra hour or extra day.

"Our job is to market this entire destination, from Niagara Falls all of the way out to Lockport to Newfane to Wilson, and the more that we can get the information about all there is to do across this county, the better off we all are because then tourists will stay longer and spend more money," Czopp said. "That's the bottom line. This is an economic engine for Niagara County."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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