We sat down with Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati earlier this week to ask him some questions about Niagara Falls tourism and what he hopes to forsee in the future of this tourist-driven city. Personable and down-to-earth, he shared his vision with us.
Have you always been a resident of Niagara Falls, and if not, how long have you lived here?
Yes, except when I went away to school.
Have you ever worked in the tourism industry in Niagara Falls?
Yes, when I was a teenager I worked at the Niagara Parks Commission, and also at a hotel as a bellhop and a bartender.
What made you decide to get into politics with a passion for Niagara Falls?
I see big opportunities for the City if a certain direction is taken and I wanted to use my business experience to help take the City to the next level. I like this quote to help inspire where our City’s going: “Good is the enemy of great”. – Jim Collins
How important do you believe is tourism to Niagara Falls?
It is the “General Motors”. It is our main industry and it has to be further developed, and not under-estimated. We have to “brush the teeth we want to keep”.
In 5 years time, what vision do you hope to see with regards to tourism in Niagara Falls?
We will be more global; more sophisticated; multi-dimensional with more aspects to what we offer here. This will make us more competitive and challenge us to raise our game.
In your opinion, what are some of the best things to see and do in Niagara Falls?
Some of the best things in Niagara Falls are free! I love riding bikes with my family along the Niagara Parkway, hitting up a local fruit stand for some home grown seasonal fruit (not free, but that part’s cheap and cheerful) and taking in the sights of the season.
Do you feel international tourists are an important segment of the visitors to Niagara?
Of course; and they will increasingly become even more important, especially with the internet as a major driver of tourism, travel and booking. It’s a big world out there. There are billions of people who have Niagara Falls on their bucket list.
What have you done to promote tourism both at home and in your travels around the globe?
For one, working with Nik Wallenda’s dream of crossing the Falls on a tight-rope was a big win. Niagara Falls was the star act to a billion-plus television audience. It is our objective to move Niagara falls from the back burner to the front burner. We are doing just that by bringing marquis events, being purveyors of development and by showing the world what we have to offer!
*Nik Wallenda’s fearless journey above the Niagara Falls!*
Mayor Jim Diodati and his 3 children are frequent visitors to Clifton Hill and especially enjoy the Dinosaur Adventure Golf course. It’s not unususal to find Jim and his family playing a competitive round of golf and enjoying the many attractions we have to offer, or grabbing some family time over a bite to eat at Boston Pizza. To read a full biography of Mayor Jim Diodati click here.