The tourism industry celebrated its economic impact and its legislative champions at the annual Massachusetts Tourism Day at the State House on Thursday, April 6, 11am-1pm, in the Great Hall.
Hosted by the 16 Regional Tourism Councils (RTCs) of Massachusetts, in partnership with the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development and the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT), Massachusetts Tourism Day included a mid-day program that featured presentations of the Champion of Tourism awards to Sen Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) and Rep. Mathew Muratore (R-Plymouth).
Other speakers included Joint Committee Co-chairs Rep. Cory Atkins and Sen. Adam Hinds. Francois Laurent-Nivaud, director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT).
The third largest industry in the Commonwealth, tourism accounts for 135,000 jobs, thanks in large part to the direct spending by 23.5 million visitors to Massachusetts. In 2015, for example, visitors to the state spent $20.2 billion on lodging, meals, culture and recreational attractions, transportation, and retail. That spending yielded $1.3 billion in local and state tax revenue.
“Tourism plays a major role in the North Central Massachusetts economy, accounting for over $127 million in direct spending in the region,” said Roy Nascimento, President and CEO of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “The visitor industry is not something we should take for granted – we need to continue partnerships with state and local government, together with the private sector, to leverage investments in the tourism industry that will help grow our economy.”
As part of Thursday’s celebration, the RTCs offered food samples representing the culinary traditions of their regions, ranging from chowder to maple and apple products.
“The Regional Tourism Councils have a deep understanding of their unique regions coupled with marketing know-how. Their promotional efforts showcase all that Massachusetts has to offer, “said Representative Cory Atkins. “Over 23 million visitors frequent our restaurants, hotels, museums, cultural institutions, and attractions. The economic impact of a robust tourism industry is a boon to the Massachusetts economy.”