Why Niagara Falls’ economy faces challenges

Global Business

Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is a staple for American and Canadian travelers and attracts millions of tourists from around the world. However, the economy in Niagara Falls, on both sides of the border, faces challenges, as other industries pack up and leave. CCTV America’s Kristiaan Yeo reports.

Each year, 12 million people visit Niagara and the entertainment metropolis that surrounds it. Niagara sits directly on the U.S.-Canadian border so that visitors can choose which side to venture to.

While the race for tourist dollars continues, the two sides are going in different directions.

The Canadian Niagara Falls has seen its population explode from just over 22,000 people, 50 years ago, to around 83,000 today, transforming itself with casinos and hotels into one of Canada’s most popular tourist hot spots.

But just a short walk across the Rainbow Bridge on the American side, things are very different.

Half a century ago, Niagara, New York was home to more than 100,000 people. At the last census in 2010, it stood at just over 50,000. If it drops further, it could lose its city status and the millions of dollars in government funding that comes with it.

Throughout this ghost town, there are relics of its industrial glory days. How did its fortunes turn so dramatically?

“Our chemical industry and our heavy manufacturing left and so did a lot of our population. People didn’t wanna resign themselves to the fact that industry was leaving, so it took us a full 30 years after Niagara Falls, Ontario starting heavily investing to follow suit,” said Seth Piccirillo from NY Development Niagara falls.

Niagara, New York is hoping to do more than just catch-up on tourism, attracting more medical, high-tech and retail industry as well.

Back on the Canadian side, Joe and Laurie Brugman, who run a restaurant near the falls said, tourism is still king for them.

“We have Korean people come in here, Chinese people come in here, German people come in, all sorts,” Joe Brugman said.

They said being too reliant on tourism could be unwise. Same-day visits by Americans have been in decline since 2001, and there’s little industry in Niagara, Ontario to counter any shocks to the tourism sector.

The economy in Niagara Falls faces challenges

Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is a staple for American and Canadian travelers and attracts millions of tourists from around the world. However, the economy in Niagara Falls, on both sides of the border, faces challenges, as other industries pack up and leave. CCTV America's Kristiaan Yeo reports.