- SUPPORT THE CAPE'S BASE INDUSTRY OF TRAVEL & TOURISM
- SUPPORT LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD ON SHORT TERM RENTALS VS. LODGING OCCUPANCY TAXES
At $16 billion, tourism is the third largest industry in the Commonwealth, generating $1.2 billion in state and local tax revenue and supporting well over 132,000 jobs. In our region alone, tourism creates $1.3 billion in spending by domestic travelers, supporting 12,000 jobs and generating more than $89 million in state and local tax receipts. The Cape Cod Chamber is a Commonwealth-designated Regional Tourism Council. As the lead organization for regional tourism, we develop regional advertising, public relations, brochures, and other marketing initiatives throughout the year and help ensure Massachusetts remains competitive.
Massachusetts ranks 47th in the country in tourism spending. Without competitive tourism investment, Massachusetts loses market share and there is evidence that this is eroding. Funding tourism is an investment in the whole Commonwealth, pays dividends and needs to be vigorously supported.
In 2016, the Legislature created a $10 million Tourism Trust Fund to dedicate a portion of room occupancy tax revenue to destination marketing: $6 million for the Regional Tourism Councils (RTCs), and $4 million for the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT). In December 2016, the Governor swept the balance of the trust fund resulting in a 50% reduction in tourism investment for the Commonwealth for fiscal FY17. Maintenance of this already dedicated tourism funding for this, and creating stable and competitive investment in tourism is critical to the state and region.
In our region, the Commonwealth owns and maintains three visitor centers (Rt. 25 in Bourne, Rt. 3 in Sagamore, Rt 6 in Yarmouth). While the Sagamore center is relatively new, the others (Bourne, Yarmouth) are in deplorable condition and are an embarrassment to the Commonwealth.
Traditionally, the Cape Cod Chamber has received a grant to staff the Bourne center, and had provided funds to the Canal Area Chamber to staff the Sagamore center. In FY17, the Governor vetoed (line-item 7008-0900) this minimal funding for visitor center staffing ($400,000 in FY16, $40,500 of which came to our region). As first impression makers for our millions of annual visitors, these centers need to be revitalized, either with public funding or through public private partnerships.