Boston (WWLP) - Governor Deval Patrick says Massachusetts hosted nearly 23 million tourists last year. At the Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism Monday, Patrick said tourists spent almost $18 billion dollars in the state, generated more than $1 billion dollars in state and local taxes, and supported more than 126,000 jobs.
“We have beaches and mountains… and a soft spot for me the unparalleled countryside of Berkshire County,” said Patrick.
October is primetime for fall foliage walks and drives throughout Western Massachusetts. Up north, fall colors are fading away, but tourism experts say they’re peaking in Hampden County. They recommend taking a drive on Route 2 along the Mohawk trail or Route 116 through South Hadley.
Tourism experts are capitalizing on Halloween by promoting Zombie Fest in the Pioneer Valley and Fright Fest at Six Flags New England.
“We just did a great event in downtown Springfield called the Zombie Walk and there’s a lot of other zombie-related events happening throughout the Valley,” said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.
As the Massachusetts Gaming Commission vets gaming developers to build a casino in the western part of the state, local events operators are asking the Commission to make sure they choose a developer who promotes local tourism.
“There is an amazing amount of cross-marketing possibilities from putting our tourism magazine into each room into the hotel and the casino, to having signage for groups that are visiting the area in the casino,” said Peter Rosskothen, owner of The Log Cabin & Delaney House.
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown was honored at the Governor’s Conference for their contributions to the growth of the state’s tourism industry.