Mark Poloncarz’s Thoughts on the Buffalo-Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau

Caught this in comment section of Buffalo Pundit’s “Toronto Trending. For Real.” post.

Mark Poloncarz highlights some key parts of his office’s audit of the CVB in his comments:

One of the issues with the Buffalo-Niagara CVB is its budget. As was revealed in my audit of the CVB in March, more than 80% of the CVB’s annual revenues comes from Erie County. However, a greater portion of its annual budget, at least during 2008-2009, is spent on salaries with less going to advertising. As noted in the report:

– CVB spent more, as a percentage of total expenditures, on salaries (53%) than all but one of the other bureaus in our sample group.

– Less is spent by CVB per hotel and room to advertise the region compared to most of the other, like, organizations in our sample group.

– The CVB has one of the highest levels of government involvement compared to other bureaus from our sample group, with the county executive directly appointing six (6) board members with the potential to influence an additional three (3) members. This would mean the county executive can potentially influence nine (9) members, two (2) short of the eleven (11) votes needed for a majority.

As I stated when we released the audit, “In comparison to other convention and visitor bureaus, which have little to no governmental influence, the County Executive has a tremendous amount of influence over the CVB’s activities. While Erie County provides a significant portion of the CVB’s revenues, it does not benefit the community to have a convention and visitors bureau that is subject to the political winds of the day.”

Perhaps we should properly fund the CVB, hire tourism professionals and then take the politics out of process. It couldn’t hurt based on recent results.

You can read the audit by clicking here: http://bit.ly/keSGvV

The CVB has received a lot of backlash from its recent Buffalo. For Real. campaign.  Though I don’t think it is entirely bad, the campaign seems to fall short in the wow factor.

You have to wonder if the way it is currently run affects the quality of how the region is being promoted by our top tourism arm.

One thought on “Mark Poloncarz’s Thoughts on the Buffalo-Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau

  1. Over 50% of the budget going to salary is insane. And I would hazard a guess that you do a better job promoting the city that this group does. Maybe you should be getting a chunk of that salary.

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