Tall Ships Erie 2016 generated an estimated $8 million for the local economy in four days, according to VisitErie.
This earned Erie the Economic Impact Award at the Tall Ships America conference.
Shawn Waskiewicz, executive director of the Flagship Niagara League, says, “Our festival did the best out of 10 Tall Ships sanctioned events last year.”
Waskiewicz says this award is not only for them, but also for the city.
According to the VisitErie report, 55 percent of the Tall Ships visitors were from outside Erie County.
Waskiewicz says, “Our goal is a lot of those people come back, they had a really good time but they couldn’t see everything in Erie. It’s going to really repeat tourism and traffic for Erie, not only for the museum but for the local businesses, Presque Isle.”
The CEO/President of VisitErie, John Oliver, says awards like this help emphasize the importance of big events – like Tall Ships Erie – in this area.
Oliver says, “Visitors are coming into town primarily to see the tall ships. But they’re eating in our restaurants, they’re staying in our hotels, they’re shopping and they’re visiting other attractions when they’re here. All of it meaning they’re leaving money behind.”
The Economic Impact Award could also help the Flagship Niagara League make future Tall Ships festivals even better.
Waskiewicz says, “We can use this award for leverage in writing grants, going to donors and talk about funding and really show how our festival has grown and how we hope it continues to grow.”
The conference gives out four awards.
Bay City winning three of the the four.
Erie was the only other one to earn an award, according to Waskiewicz.