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A recent survey of banking and business contacts around New England found tourism to be a bright spot in the regional economy, one with a “very bullish” outlook for the remainder of 2024.

The Federal Reserve Bank’s latest Beige Book, a summary of national and regional economic conditions and trends, said business activity in New England “expanded at a modest pace” over the last six weeks while prices were slightly up and employment was flat. But convention and tourism activity “grew at a robust pace” and fueled other spending, the report said.

“Airline passenger traffic through Boston increased at an above-average pace in recent months, with total passengers now exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Domestic travel remained below pre-pandemic levels because of the incomplete recovery of business travel, but growth in international travel more than compensated,” the report said. “Hotel occupancy in greater Boston increased at a strong pace, exceeding seasonal norms, fueled in part by robust convention activity and sporting events.”

Tourism is a $24.2 billion industry in Massachusetts, with visitor spending translating into more than 130,000 jobs across the state and $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue, according to Mass. Office of Tourism and Travel Executive Director Kate Fox. Gov. Maura Healey this month brought back the Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism for the first time in 10 years and has proposed in her economic development bill to dedicate $100 million to the tourism industry.

The state is putting an emphasis on tourism marketing and planning ahead of the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, starting next year with the semiquincentennial of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

“From the Boston Tea Party, to Lexington and Concord, to Dorchester Heights and beyond – critical engagements of the American Revolution happened right here in Massachusetts. Over the next three years, we’ll be commemorating the history that is the core of the Massachusetts story by celebrating the wins and reflecting on lessons learned,” Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said in a press release about the tourism conference, during which a logo for the 250th effort was unveiled.The Federal Reserve said the outlook for tourism and convention activity in 2024 “remained very bullish” and that hotel bookings on Cape Cod for the remainder of the year “looked on track to match those from 2023.”

Beige Book Casts Bright Light on Mass. Tourism

by State House News Service time to read: 2 min