Conference focuses on new industry growth, collaborations and partnership

       opportunities for upcoming tourism season while honoring six industry leaders

BOSTON – October 21, 2013 – Travel and tourism industry leaders from across Massachusetts gathered today for the 26th Annual Massachusetts Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism. The conference, organized by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) explored the current state of the tourism industry, new program initiatives, and new opportunities for positioning the Commonwealth for growth. In addition, six tourism professionals received the Larry D. Meehan Award. The conference was held at the Massachusetts State House and featured remarks from Governor Deval Patrick.

“Tourism is a powerful economic driver in the Commonwealth accounting for $17.7 billion dollars in domestic and international spending in 2012,” Said Governor Patrick. “With 4 million international arrivals last year and new regions of the world opened up through direct flights into Logan, we will continue to foster the collaborations that build on our success and create sustainable growth.”

Last year, Massachusetts hosted 22.8 million domestic and international travelers. The tourism industry was responsible for 126,500 jobs and $3.7 billion in payroll, and generated $1.1 billion in state and local taxes.

Keynote speakers at the Governor’s Conference included Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki, MOTT Executive Director Betsy Wall, Brand USA President and CEO Christopher Tompkins, United States Travel Association Vice President of Governmental Relations Patricia Rojas, Massport CEO Tom Glynn, Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Bruce Stebbins, and a number of other industry representatives.

“Tourism is highly competitive and our marketing must be smart and aggressive,” said Wall. “Our focus on international travelers and emerging markets is a strategic effort to brand Massachusetts as a must see destination to these markets that bring new dollars into the Commonwealth.”

At the conference, six tourism professionals were recognized with the Larry D. Meehan Award. Given in honor of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau Vice President of Media Relations and Tourism Larry Meehan, the Awards pay homage to those who have made major contributions to the expansion and vitality of the state’s tourism industry. Recognized this year were:

The City of Salem
Mayor Kim Driscoll and the City of Salem were recognized for their efforts in repositioning the city to attract a broader base of visitors, as well as niche markets.

Linda DeMarco
As President of Boston Pride, DeMarco was recognized for the dedication, energy, and vitality she brings to supporting pride across the Commonwealth, as well as her efforts to inspire other communities to sponsor pride events and her work to lead communities through this process.

James E. Donahue
Under Donahue’s leadership, Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) has seen an increase in visitation for three straight years, reversing a decades-long slide in attendance. His effective management ensures that OSV will continue to be a vibrant and enriching cultural resource with year round experiences for all ages.

Mimi LaCamera
As President and CEO of the Freedom Trail Foundation, LaCamera has helped to transform the Foundation to a fully-engaged tourism trail. Under LaCamera’s leadership, the attraction has seen visibility increased significantly.

Paul Sacco
The Massachsuetts Lodging President and CEO has over 40-years in the hospitality industry and has served in executive positions and as general manager at numerous properties. Sacco was recognized for his commitment and extensive experience in the hospitality industry, which has had a major impact on state’s tourism industry.

Vicki Saltzman
As Director of Communications of The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Saltzman was recognized for her instrumental role in leading the Institute’s marketing, public relations, and visitor services teams and in keeping the museum a must-see tourist destination in Western Massachusetts.

About MOTT:
The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) is the state agency dedicated to promoting Massachusetts as a leisure-travel destination. In 2012, tourism generated $17.7 billion in domestic and international spending and supported 126,500 in jobs. MOTT serves as a leader in the tourism industry, bringing together the public and private sectors.


For more information, contact:

Lisa Simmons, Director of Communications
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
(617) 973-8508
[email protected]