North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau Conference Rallies Industry Leaders
12th Annual Tourism Summit Attracts Statewide Collaboration for Vital Economic Engine
By: North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
In 2016, tourism to Massachusetts generated $20.7 billion dollars in direct spending, supported more than 139,000 jobs and generated more than $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenue. Ann Marie Casey, Executive Director of the NBCVB, noted that the 34 cities and towns of Essex County generate more than $1 billion of the direct spending figure. Each year, Massachusetts Destination Marketing Organizations are challenged to continue aggressive tourism promotion efforts and fight for market share with destination that invest more.
Elected officials who joined the Summit included State Sen. Joan Lovely, Rep. Paul Tucker, Rep. James Kelcourse, Rep. Jerald Parisella, and Rep. Thomas Walsh (an active member of the Tourism, Arts & Culture Development Committee).
Support from Regional Tourism Council Sponsors Trip Advisor and Boston Globe Media made it possible for many regional partners to attend. Tourism directors and leaders were on hand from: 1 Berkshire, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau, Discover Central Massachusetts, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Mohawk Trail Association, Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, and Plymouth County Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as representatives from New Bedford, Provincetown, Plymouth, Quincy and Lexington, MA. Sojern served as the sponsor for the Statewide Destination Marketing Initiative.
The event kicked off with a Regional Tourism Council Directors Panel moderated by Dave Olson, editor of the Salem News and Gloucester Daily Times. Panelists were Christina Andreoli, president of Discover Central Massachusetts;
Ms. Casey outlined the NBCVB's efforts to market the region and work collaboratively with tourism partners to promote the region domestically and internationally to leisure, group tour, and corporate travel segments. As part of its aggressive marketing plan, the CVB and Board of Directors have provided a tourism mini-grant program for its members. Over the last five years, the CVB has awarded more than $200,000 in matching grants to Chambers, DMOs and non-profit organizations to assist with tourism promotion projects that include print, website development, blogging, digital, TV, YouTube, audio messaging, radio, social media projects, language translation, and signage. In 2017, despite a 50 percent reduction in state funding, the NBCVB awarded 11 Tourism Mini-Grants, totaling $15,000.
The NBCVB also operates the Maria Miles Visitor Center on I-95 in Salisbury. "It is only through reliable and consistent funding that we are able to continue providing important visitor services to approximately 350,000 travelers each year. Thank you to our members who advertise at the Center, MOTT, and the Department of Transportation for supporting the Visitor Center this year," Casey said.
After breakout sessions on the lodging and attraction sectors, a panel on "From Research to Reality: Discover How Massachusetts Drives Prosperity in the Commonwealth through Leisure, Hospitality, Arts, Culture & Heritage" featured UMass Donahue Institute's Research Manager Catherine Tumber, Plymouth 400 Inc.'s Executive Director Michele Pecoraro, and the Boch Center's Art Week Massachusetts Chief Strategic Officer Sue Dahling Sullivan. They discussed current efforts to quantify the impact of cultural activities on economic drivers, as well as ongoing campaigns to innovatively promote our heritage and arts.
Other sessions included Industry Sector Roundtables that shared best practices as well as challenges. The overriding message: when we collaborate with one another, we are all stronger together.
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism's Executive Director Francois Nivaud welcomed the attendees at the lunch program as the Lead Destination Marketing Partner. Next, MOTT's Director of International Public Relations Maria Speridakos explained how familiarization tours (or "fams") introduce travel writers and group tours to the wonders throughout the Commonwealth, attracting visitors from countries around the world.
Wrapping up the event, Kristna Wacome Stevick, president and artistic director of History Alive, Inc., brought a group of performers to demonstrate how interactive formats with audiences can keep history fresh and relevant.
Other 2018 Tourism Summit sponsors included: Breakout Session Sponsors - Topsfield Fair and Hawthorne Tours; Tabletop Sponsors - Essex National Heritage Area, Bill Hanney's North Shore Music Theatre, Destination Salem, Lynn Museum, Lynn Arts, The Salem Trolley, Visit New England, The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Peabody Essex Museum, The Landing Restaurant, Marblehead Chamber of Commerce, Where Magazine, Discover Gloucester, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Boston Spirit Magazine, New England Travel Showcase; Design Sponsor - Kishgraphics;
About the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau
The North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit membership-based organization dedicated to promoting the 34 cities and towns of Essex County as a travel destination for visitors, meetings and group tours. As one of Massachusetts' regional tourism councils, the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau serves as a central source of information for the more than 2.7 million visitors who come to the region each year and fosters economic development through public and private partnerships. For more information about our members and our services, please visit www.northofboston.org.
Ann Marie Casey