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Small businesses steal the spotlight in new ad campaign to attract tourists to Buffalo

Visit Buffalo Niagara rolls out "Let's Get Back to Our Comeback" campaign for Small Business Month.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — You may recognize places that you go to all the time in a new set of TV commercials, like your barbershop, the farmer's market, or Shea's. Now that things are opening back up, the ads are designed to attract visitors back to the region. 

2 On Your Side checked with Visit Buffalo Niagara, and it turns out the tourism numbers to close out the busy summer travel season were actually pretty strong. In a normal year, the City of Buffalo would welcome around 9 million visitors, who would leave behind almost $2 billion in economic impact. 

This July, occupancy at local hotels was at 72 percent. That's not far behind July of 2019, when the occupancy rate was 80 percent. 

Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler says the majority of visitors are now coming from elsewhere in New York State. 

"We're seeing a lot of local travel from New York State, Central New York, as well as New York City, as well as some of our other surrounding areas that typically would travel," he said during an interview on the 2 On Your Side Town Hall. "It would be interesting, as long as the Canadian Border were open, we would have been back to those 2019 levels." 

The campaign is funded by the American Rescue Funds that Erie County received. It was launched it in conjunction with Small Business Month in September and it will air all the way through the end of the year, both in our market and throughout the state.