Published on : Thursday, September 30, 2021
The pandemic has harshly affected the meetings, events and convention center. However, the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center is finally set to reopen in early October after being closed now for a year and a half.
In a regular year the weddings, galas and events held at the convention center such as “The World’s Largest Disco”, provide a big boost to downtown Buffalo. According to Visit Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center typically hosts more than 200 events each year which generate more than $40 million in economic impact.
The pandemic forced the convention center to close in March of 2020. That loss of revenue also had a direct impact on hotels and restaurants nearby. Patrick Kaler, the President and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara said that the centre is a big business, job creator and an economic generator.
He mentioned that having the convention center off-line for almost two years is pretty devastating to the overall tourism economy, which is down by $86 million. Nick Pitillio, the owner of Osteria 166, located near the convention center added that they are estimating it to be about 20-25 percent of the pre-pandemic business.
Erie County is investing around $1.5 million to upgrade the flooring, wall finishes and electrical in the main lobby of the convention center with the aim of finally reopening the venue on October 10, 2021.
However, it will be a slow start to the rest of the year as many conventions for the most part have cancelled or moved into future years. Tourism Economics, an industry leader in tourism research, estimates that meetings and conventions will not return to 2019 levels until 2024.
Kale continued to stay optimistic and said with the work being done on the convention center, with the Hyatt (Regency) coming back online with new management, the dollars are being put into that property. He said that it is important for people to see that the work is taking place.
Visit Buffalo Niagara says 2022 will be a good post-pandemic year at the convention center. With an estimated 113 events already scheduled, boasting an economic impacts of more that $30 million. The numbers are still lower than normal, but they are music to the ears of many.