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Marketing Cape Cod Year Round
Paul Niedzwiecki was appointed CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce in May 2021. He hit the ground running for the Cape’s busy summer season, and has not stopped since. We spoke to Paul about marketing in the off season, the blue economy and the outlook for 2022.
Tell us about your background and how you came to the Cape Cod Chamber.
I am a lawyer and Marine Corps Veteran. I’ve been working on public policy issues impacting Cape Cod for 25 years. I began as staff member in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Chief of Staff in the Massachusetts Senate working for members of the Cape & Islands legislative delegation. I have workforce development, healthcare and municipal management experience. Most notably, I served for 10 years as Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission, the regional planning agency.
Cape Cod is a special place and keeping this special place special has been central to the mission in every position I’ve held. Having worked closely with Wendy Northcross and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce over the years, it’s been an honor to follow her as CEO of the Chamber and I am excited to continue the work.
The Chamber’s Christmas on the Cape initiative is a popular off season marketing campaign. What kind of visitors come to the Cape during the holidays?
Our Christmas on Cape Cod marketing campaign is designed to entice visitors to cross the bridge for a holiday getaway and recapture the true essence of the season here by the sea. We see a mix of visitors during the holidays. Cape Cod appeals to couples looking for an escape, where they can dine fireside, take a brisk beach walk and stay in a cozy B&B. It draws holiday shoppers seeking unique, hand-crafted items from our artisans, galleries and our festively decorated downtown hubs. And families come to Cape Cod this time of year for a giant dose of holiday cheer at events throughout the season including harbor & tree lightings, parades, concerts, theater and village strolls. Our primary customer during the holiday season come from the Boston and Worcester markets, followed by Connecticut and New York.
The Blue Economy is an important Cape initiative. What are the connections between a sustainable environment, strong economy and vibrant tourism industry on the Cape?
On Cape Cod the environment is the economy. The region’s population triples during summer peak season with a growing year-round population. Balancing economic progress while protecting a fragile and everchanging environment is challenging but resident and visitors come to Cape Cod because of the natural beauty. Cape Cod is literally defined by water. The region is outlined by the ocean and is home to almost 1,000 freshwater ponds. Drawing on our connection to the water to support traditional industries while promoting emerging economic opportunities just makes sense and we’ve been doing it for over 350 years. From fishing and tourism on the outer cape to globally renowned marine research centers in Woods Hole, Blue is the best bet for a balanced economy.
Are you optimistic about 2022, when travel and tourism gets closer to pre-pandemic normalcy?
All present indicators suggest another very busy year for Cape Cod in 2022. With so many people now working remotely the shoulder seasons have been expanding and people are staying longer. We expect international travelers will be returning to the Cape as Covid-related travel concerns continue to ease. We are working to lessen the labor shortage and supply chain issues that impacted so many businesses in 2021 and although the serious work of permitting and designing to replacements for the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges is underway, the construction is still several years away.
Where do you like to take family and friends when they come to visit you on Cape Cod?
From the Knob in Falmouth to Commercial Street in Provincetown, every town and every village on Cape Cod has something unique to offer visitors. My family and friends usually tell me where they want to go and what they want to do and see. Ice cream is the only standing item on every itinerary. One of my favorite places is Sandy Neck, a 7-mile-long barrier beach on Cape Cod Bay.
For more information, visit Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.