BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts business owners told 22News they rely on tourism to help bring shoppers to their businesses. Visitors to the state spent $20.2-billion on lodging, meals, transportation and retail in 2015.
State Representative Aaron Vega, (D) Holyoke, told 22News, “When the economy gets tight, people stay local, so it’s critical for us to make sure that we have restaurants, that we have family entertainment; especially in Holyoke, where we have the Volleyball Hall of Fame.”
Businesses from across Massachusetts went to the State House on Thursday for Tourism Day.
Berkshire County relies heavily on tourism to provide both jobs and revenue. Local tax revenues help their communities to take in about $13-million.
Western Massachusetts business owners want the state to invest more money in tourism in order to bring travelers to their retail spaces.
“I see new people coming in all the time. They know that everything is baked on premises, and that’s pretty good in this new internet age, because there tends to be a lot of people going online and buying stuff,” said Springfield business owner Dino Facente.
Local business owners said they not only face competition online, but also from neighboring states.
Senator Adam Hinds, (D) Pittsfield, said, “Within 100 miles, we have something like 35-million people and we need to make sure we’re investing in bringing them into our parts of the region, because we’re up against New York state, who’s now spending $55-million on tourism.”
The tourism industry accounts for more than 130,000 jobs in Massachusetts.