Bellingham, Mass.—The MetroWest Boston Visitors Bureau held its Annual Meeting on June 20, featuring two keynote speakers, including Massachusetts State Senate President Karen E. Spilka, and Dr. Nancy S. Niemi, president, Framingham State University.
Erin Lynch, executive director, MetroWest Boston Visitors Bureau, said the event was an opportunity for business, civic and community leaders to hear how the organization is responding to post-pandemic changes in the tourism industry, and share the organization’s plans to increase tourism-generated revenue for MetroWest.
In addition to the keynote speakers, Michael Herbert, town manager, Town of Ashland, and Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Director of International Public Relations Maria Speridakos addressed the audience, as well as State Representatives Jack Lewis, James Arena-DeRosa and Priscila Sousa.
“Every person here has a hand in creating the welcoming and inclusive region we enjoy today,” said Lynch, “Our diverse cultural, recreational and educational opportunities make us an ideal destination for both local and international visitors, which presents an incredible opportunity for MetroWest.”
Stacey David, deputy director, MetroWest Boston Visitors Bureau, shared updates on the organization’s marketing efforts, which include a two-pronged approach. Business travelers are being targeted through the corporate meeting and convention planner market, while itineraries highlighting regional attractions will target the consumer market segment. Such efforts are supported by social media campaigns, in the new Guide to MetroWest print publication, national and international advertising campaigns, the fostering of relationships with national and international tour operators and meeting planners, and the hiring of a public relations firm to share news and information with the media.
“We are thrilled with the impact our new campaigns are already making, with social media engagement up 30 percent, and more than a 380 percent increase in website traffic since June 2022,” said David. “We are pleased with the momentum and efforts of the past year and the rise of tourism in MetroWest.”
The Visitors Bureau’s Economic Development Director Jim Giammarinaro spoke about plans for MetroWest to become the second region in the Commonwealth identified as a Tourism Destination Marketing District (TDMD). The TDMD would collect a special assessment of up to two percent from hotels and motels, with proceeds from the special assessment pooled into a fund for the district to expand economic growth within the tourism and hospitality industry for that district.
“Funds can be used for community programs, marketing and capital projects that will attract visitors to MetroWest,” said Giammarinaro. “The TDMD would generate a significant revenue stream for the region, and I hope we are able to continue the process and engage with our hotels to make this initiative a reality.”
In addition to the guest speakers and updates, the 2024 slate of officers and board members was also announced. Steve Levinsky, chair, Natick Center Cultural District, will continue to serve as chair. Vice Chair is Chelsie Vokes, associate attorney, Bowditch & Dewey LLP; Towma Rastad, co-director, MetroWest Chamber of Commerce appointed Treasurer, and Lindsey Jaworek, business outreach manager, Marlborough Economic Development Corp., appointed Clerk. Board members include Lou Carrier, president, Distinctive Hospitality Group; Peter Chisholm, director of community relations, Framingham State University; Dr. John Palabiyik, coordinator, Hospitality and Tourism Management Program, Framingham State University; Jason Palitsch, executive director, The 495/MetroWest Partnership; and Kim Sternick, general manager, Warren Conference Center and Inn.
The event was funded with the support of Framingham State University.
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About the MetroWest Boston Visitors Bureau
As the only regional organization with the mission of stimulating the MetroWest economy by marketing the region’s assets, MetroWest Boston Visitors Bureau has served hundreds of businesses, nonprofit agencies, and municipalities since its founding. This independent nonprofit organization markets the region’s cultural and recreational venues, retailers, restaurants, accommodations, and educational and other services to visitors and residents alike. These marketing efforts also serve to brand the region, to build collaborations across sectors and towns, to support jobs-producing enterprises, and to celebrate the diverse and vibrant MetroWest community. Learn more about the MBVB by visiting www.metrowestvisitors.org or by following on social media @visitmetrowest.