COVID Impacts Tourism, Plymouth To Bounce Back Faster
State Representative Mathew Muratore
The Joint Legislative Committee on Tourism, the Arts and Cultural Development held a hearing in April to hear from industry leaders on their views on the tourism impact of Covid-19. We heard from leaders of: Mass Office on Tourism, Mass Cultural Council, Mass Lodging, Massport, New England Museum Association, Mass Convention Center Authority, Mass Cultural Council, Mass Humanities, Mass Live Events Coalition, and Mass Restaurant Association. Not surprisingly, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on every industry we’ve heard of.
We learned that Massachusetts was one of the top five states hit by travel expense losses, ranking 4th after Hawaii, DC and New York. Losses in travel spending since January 2020 in Massachusetts have been estimated at $ 15.1 billion. This translates into a loss of $ 234 million in local taxes, $ 451 million in state taxes and $ 1.15 million in federal taxes. According to the Mass Office of Travel and Tourism, historically Massachusetts has welcomed just under 30 million domestic visitors each year, 1.8 million foreign visitors and 640,000 Canadian visitors. In 2019, that translated into $ 24.9 billion in direct spending, $ 1.6 billion in state and local taxes, 155,500 jobs and $ 5.9 billion in wages.
According to the Mass Lodging Association, Massachusetts has 900 lodging establishments, representing 80,000 rooms. While hotel occupancy rates are slowly returning, they are still significantly down from pre-pandemic levels. Preliminary estimates for 2020 indicate a reduction of at least 50% from 2019, which would translate into $ 13 billion in spending, $ 800 million in state and local taxes and nearly 80,000 jobs. The MA Restaurant Association said eating out, take-out and alcohol had helped, but also reported huge losses and restaurant closures.
The transport industries have also suffered. Before the pandemic, Logan’s passenger volume was growing 5% per year and was on track to reach 45 million by 2020. It added 30 non-stop international flights and its international passengers were increasing 10%. They estimated that a full recovery in air travel would be in 3 to 5 years. Flynn Cruiseport in Boston served a record 402,000 cruise passengers in 2019. The projection of 440,000 passengers for 2020 was not realized after all cruises were canceled.
The New England Museum Association reported a financial impact for Massachusetts of $ 1.2 billion, a loss of 16,549 jobs, and a loss of $ 80.2 million in state and local taxes. The Mass Cultural Council reported that 981 municipal and nonprofit cultural organizations have lost $ 588,334,079 in revenue since March 2020, while 2,951 artists, educators, and scientists / humanists cite $ 30,403,616 in lost personal income.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism was industry # 1 in Plymouth County and industry # 3 in Massachusetts. Tourism and hospitality have been hit hard and rebound projections vary, but some estimate two years for domestic travel and four years for international travelers. According to Lea Filson, president / CEO of See Plymouth, Plymouth County tourism spending was $ 570 million as of 2012 and has grown significantly every year since.
For the city of Plymouth, the impact has also been devastating. The expectation of large crowds arriving from all over the world for the 400th in Plymouth did not come true. The ripple effect on all businesses is immeasurable. On the positive side, the 10 years of preparation have allowed Plymouth to recover faster than other communities. Millions of dollars invested in advertising, infrastructure, the T-Wharf, Pilgrim Memorial State Park, a new marine facility, and harbor dredging to accommodate small cruise ships and more boats make Plymouth ready and welcoming for tourists. oceanic visitors and land travelers.
Plymouth has so much to offer with its beautiful coastline, beaches, ponds, history, nature trails, restaurants, breweries, wineries, hotels, museums, concert halls, art center, its cultural district and its boat trips. Marketing efforts leading up to the 400th shed light on Plymouth and its multitude of unique offerings as a destination. Prospective tourists and locals alike now know that historic Plymouth has so much more to offer.
Tourism revival efforts are underway both locally and statewide, with efforts to duplicate marketing and campaigns encouraging local travel, shopping and dining, such as the My Local MA campaign, the State of Wonder photo contest and the Let’s Go Out restaurant campaign. Our regional tourism council, See Plymouth, has worked hard to promote Plymouth. Billboards attracting people to Plymouth will be seen along the coast from New Hampshire to Rhode Island. As more people get vaccinated, the comfort level for venturing out is likely to start locally. This will help support the recovery of Plymouth, Plymouth County and Massachusetts and their economic growth until international travelers become more comfortable traveling again.
For more information on what is happening in the city of Plymouth and the County of Plymouth visit: https://seeplymouth.com
For Massachusetts, visit the MA Office of Travel and Tourism websites: www.lovemylocalma.com and www.visitma.com For the July and August photo contest, go to and submit photos for a chance to win a getaway: www.visitma.com/state -concours-d’amerveillance /.