Keyes to Manage SNI’s New Visitor Economy Management Office | News

SALAMANCA — The Seneca Nation is launching a visitor economy management office.

Kortney Keyes has been chosen to manage this new office and will work at the Onöhsagwë:de’ Cultural Center at the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum.

Keyes said she started her new role as director of the newly created office in February. She said the Office of Visitor Economy Management is a new department within the other Seneca Nation programs and departments. The office will be located in the cultural center until the department is developed and established.

“Right now, I’m an employee of one, but I’m going to create a team. Once I have staff I will need more office space,” she said. “It will probably take several years to get everything developed, operational but, at the moment, everything is really behind the scenes.”

The Visitor Economics Department itself deals with tourism but, according to Keyes, the newly developed office will do more than that. She said they will assess and manage how they can encourage small business success.

Youth employment and sports development will be included, as well as local artists, designers and manufacturers. She said they really want to incorporate the Seneca culture into their goals.

“This new office is not specific to tourism alone. This is also what we can bring to our community as a whole through tourism,” she said. “We kind of want to get away from the idea that we’re just a tourist office because we’re so much more than that.”

Keyes said part of her job will be the event planner for all things Seneca tourism in Salamanca. Eventually, she will work closely with the nation’s media department running a website, and they will eventually have travel guides available to help visitors with additional information.

“It’s more long term. The first thing would definitely be to plan it all out and try to get an idea of ​​what we want to include on our website and in our travel guides and then go from there,” she said. “We will do everything internally through the Seneca Nation.”

There is no set date for the establishment of the new department and its staff, Keyes said. It’s brand new and she focuses on goals that are still in progress with the help of a consultant. She is currently helping out with a few different projects to relieve other departments when they need an extra helping hand.

The concept of visitor economy is important for the success of tourism. It adds another element to the traditional notion of tourism as a planned trip with an overnight stay.

According to the University of Derby, the visitor economy is a place-centric concept concerned with the whole environment in which visitors, inhabitants and tourists interact. It focuses on the elements that attract visitors and the infrastructure and services that support their visit.

Keyes said she worked at all three Seneca Casino properties in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca.

“I’ve had wonderful experiences at all three of our casinos, and it creates a great context for everything I do,” she said. “I don’t necessarily need a degree in marketing or tourism to do what I do here. It’s people-oriented – working with people and community – and that’s where I’m strongest.

Keyes resides in Irving in Cattaraugus Territory with his partner, Adam Pagan, and their three children. She attended Niagara University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, administration and management, with a concentration in hotel and restaurant management.

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