Summer has arrived and you now need to allow 10 more minutes to get to the office due to increased traffic. Rather than complain about this small inconvenience, why not celebrate the benefits of tourism and reflect on how you can show your appreciation for the visitors to our communities? Regardless of the specific nature of our business, we are in the tourism industry and we all benefit in some way from tourism.
The impact of tourism on the residents who live and work in Plymouth and Cape Cod is significant. Tourism is a $16.5 billion industry in Massachusetts, providing 123,000 jobs and generating $1.1 billion in tax revenue. Barnstable and Plymouth Counties alone saw just under $1.3 billion in spending by domestic travelers, supporting 12,000 jobs and generating more than $89 million in state and local tax receipts. Travelers to and within the United States directly spent $813 billion in 2011, spurring an additional $1.1 trillion in other industries. Tourism and travel is a broad industry employing a diverse workforce, from hotel, restaurant and attraction employees, to other supporting sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance. The industry supported 14.4 million jobs across the nation last year, roughly 7.5 million of them directly. One out of nine U.S. jobs depends on travel and tourism.
International travel to the U.S. is the nation’s largest single export industry, significant not only to our economic prosperity but also to our image abroad. International visitors stay longer and spend more, and our regional tourism councils, or RTCs, together with the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, take great strides to focus attention on our destination. Our state has representation in Canada, Europe and Asia; attends various trade shows and organizes sales missions both state-side and abroad; and generates further awareness by hosting familiarization trips for foreign media and overseas travel buyers. Debra Catania, Vice President of the Catania Hospitality Group, has recognized the value of the international guest for more than 25 years. “We must first sell the region, and then deliver the level of service that will give international travelers an experience they will want to share with their families and friends,” she says. Catania recently attended the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow – the industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the United States. Nearly 1,200 buyers from more than 70 countries conduct business with U.S. suppliers and generate more than $3.5 billion in future travel to the United States. The John Carver Inn & Spa, Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa and Cape Codder Resort & Spa have welcomed visitors from more than 44 different countries. The hotels provide welcome letters translated into various languages, and proudly display flags from some of the countries that these valued guests hale from.
Meetings, events and incentive travel help companies strengthen business performance, with an average ROI of $12.50 in profits and $3.80 in revenue for every dollar spent on corporate travel. Leisure travel benefi ts a traveler’s creativity, cultural awareness, education, productivity and wellness. Group motorcoach tours offer an affordable, fun and fuel-efficient form of travel. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, individually or as part of a group, people make the choice to visit our region – are we prepared to welcome them? In Plymouth, local hospitality industry workers are given the opportunity to attend a Frontline Familiarization Tour to become better educated about local attractions and restaurants in the area so they can be more confi dent in making first-hand recommendations to out-of-town visitors. On the Cape, awareness of the benefits of the motorcoach group tour business is celebrated at the annual Splish Splash Bus Bath, where local industry partners join with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce to welcome and physically wash tour buses visiting the Mid-Cape area on a day in mid-June.
Whether measured through jobs, tax revenues, visitor arrivals or world perception, travel and tourism is one of America’s greatest assets and it benefits all of us. Appreciate the fact that tourists help to keep our taxes down and employment levels up. Ask your State Representative to support increased tourism funding. Recognize a foreign visitor with a friendly greeting. Have patience if you have to sit in traffic a little longer. Celebrate the tourism industry in your community in any way you can.
Lynn Williams is director of Sales for the Catania Hospitality Group, owners of the Cape Codder Resort & Spa, Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa, John Carver Inn & Spa and the Hearth ‘n Kettle Restaurants. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in Cape & Plymouth Business June 2012
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