(Caption: Lillgrund Wind Farm in Denmark) This week…
Assembly Row is the New Orange
(Caption: Artists Rendering of Assembly Row) The Assembly Station train stop along the MBTA Orange Line opened this week in Somerville, and the excitement was palatable among commuters as well as business owners and state and local officials. For one thing, it was the first new station added by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) in twenty-seven years; the daily projected ridership at Assembly is expected to be up to 5,400 passengers by 2030. But more so, the new train stop is a harbinger of great things to come for the $1.4 billion Assembly Row project, which is part of an exciting strategy by public officials to create unique new communities where residents have easy access to transportation, jobs, housing, and recreational and entertainment opportunities. The development will include more than 2.8 million square feet of office space, 635,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment uses, and 1,813 homes. It will feature public benefits like a waterfront park and new bike and pedestrian paths connecting existing neighborhoods with the new development. The first phase, with 448 apartments, scores of retail shops and restaurants and more, is already open. “We invest in infrastructure to catalyze private development, revitalize urban neighborhoods and bolster growth and opportunity across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Deval Patrick, who visited the new station on September 2, opening day. “The new Assembly Orange Line station is a concrete reminder of what can be achieved through public-private partnership and investment in our communities.” Governor Patrick was joined at the opening by U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano, who helped secure federal funds for the station, Mass DOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey, MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott, Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and other local officials. The new Assembly station is funded through a combination of federal, state and private investment. The total cost of the station is $56 million with the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development (EOHED) contributing $25 million through a MassWorks grant, $16 million in federal funds and a $15 million investment from Federal Realty Investment Trust, the developers of the Assembly Row project. EOHED Secretary Greg Bialecki noted that “Assembly Row is an excellent example of a well-rounded development project that aligns our jobs, housing and transportation needs to better serve our residents. Through these types of collaborative efforts we are making our communities great places to live, work and play.” To learn more about the Patrick Administration’s strategy for economic growth through investments in innovation, infrastructure and education, go to Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century.
United Airlines’ Hemispheres Magazine Features Massachusetts
Check out the September 2014 issue of Hemispheres Magazine, the in-flight magazine of United Airlines. There is a 15 page spread devoted to Massachusetts in its Dossier series, which features an “in-depth overview of a region, including the unique initiatives that shape its industry and commerce as well as its influence on today’s global economy.” Both Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh are profiled in the issue. The supplement describes Massachusetts as “one of America’s favorite places to do business,” and says that Governor Patrick “leaves a state that ranks among the leaders in everything from student achievement to economic competitiveness and entrepreneurial activity.” A number of state officials are cited in the publication, including Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development; Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of Massachusetts Life Sciences, James Rooney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority; Thomas Glynn, CEO of Massport, and Robert Caret, President of the University of Massachusetts. Among the Massachusetts companies featured are the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, Raytheon Company and Partners Healthcare. In April 2014, United Airlines opened a new concourse at Terminal B at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Governor Patrick said at the time, “With increased customer service and convenience, United’s presence in Terminal B will continue to make Boston a top destination for domestic and international travel.”
Museums Showcase Massachusetts’ Cultural and Historical Richness
(Caption: A Model of the Whaler ‘Lagoda‘. Photo Courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.) by Kennedy Stomps From the heights of the Berkshires to the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a museum lover’s haven, offering an inspiring array of museums that reflect the state’s cultural richness and diversity. They range from world renowned museums like the Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard Museum of Natural History and Mass MoCA, to local favorites like the Fuller Craft Museum, Museum of Russian Icons, and the Fruitlands Museum, and even the downright quirky—like the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History, the Plumbing Museum and the Edward Gorey House. The Commonwealth’s commitment to the cultural arts is a longstanding tradition. In the Massachusetts Constitution, John Adams writes that it “shall be the duty of legislatures…in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences…[and] to encourage private societies and public institutions.” Today, the more-than 500 museums in Massachusetts contribute millions of dollars to local and state economies, and provide hundreds of jobs in their respective regions, while contributing to the state’s creative economy and tourism industry. Overall, cultural institutions attract 14 million visitors to the state each year, generating a total annual economic impact of over $3.4 billion. Visitors can go inside Norman Rockwell’s studio, explore the country’s largest collection of textiles and tools and take in works by Monet, Degas and Renoir here in Massachusetts. And with museums featuring collections of Japanese Samurai armor, Asian and African art and Greek and Roman sculpture, you don’t need a passport to see some of the finest art from around the world. Those interested in the rich history of the Commonwealth can step aboard the Mayflower II or into a 17th century English town, meet the organizers of the Boston Tea Party, learn about whaling and the maritime tradition and experience life in a historic Shaker village. Sports fans will definitely want to take a “time out” to visit the Naismith Basketball Museum, Volleyball Hall of Fame, Golf Museum and TD Gardens Sports Museum. Finally, a trip to Massachusetts wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of the state’s many Presidential sites. Visitors can check out the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Adams National Historic Park, the John F. Kennedy Birthplace, the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum. In September, the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism is presenting an exhibit of Massachusetts museums at the Newton Free Library. The display will be located in the main Atrium of the library which is located at 330 Homer St. in Newton Center. The library is open Monday-Thursday 9:00 am-9:00 pm, Friday 9:00 am-6:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am -5:00 pm and the display is free and open to the public, so stop by!
Massachusetts Announces Cathay Pacific Airways Nonstop flights between Boston-Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Airways, recently voted the world’s best airlines, is launching a non-stop service between Boston and Hong Kong to commence in May, 2015. State officials from Massport and the Patrick Administration announced the good news at a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House today. The air service will include four weekly flights between Boston’s Logan International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. “The doors of Massachusetts are open to the world, and we are eager both to strengthen existing global relationships and to build new ones,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in a statement. “This new service will allow us to continue to expand on these efforts and more easily connect and collaborate with innovators, inventors and investors in the Asian market. I thank Cathay Pacific and Massport for their leadership and partnership.” Cathay Pacific Senior Vice President, Americas, Tom Owen said the new service will connect New England “with numerous Asian cities, including over 22 destinations in Mainland China, as well as key economic and tourism hubs throughout Southeast Asia, such as Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Bali, and Hanoi.” Also, Australian Business Traveler reported that the new route “will give Perth and Adelaide residents a new one-stop option to the USA east coast.” In addition to tourists, students and business travelers, Owens added there is also “an opportunity for increased freight from New England to Asia, due to the Boeing 777-300ER belly capacity, and connectivity through our new Cargo Terminal in Hong Kong to Cathay’s extensive Asian freighter network.” Massport CEO Tom Glynn noted that today’s announcement “recognizes the flourishing business opportunities that exist throughout New England. And with now 40 nonstop international destinations, Boston is an even more important player in the global economy.” The Cathay Pacific route marks the 12th international nonstop service added since Governor Patrick took office in 2007. Since July 2013, four new nonstop flights have been added, between Logan Airport and Panama City, Dubai, Istanbul and Beijing. With 74 nonstop domestic and 40 international destinations, Boston’s Logan Airport is a key economic engine for the region, contributing more than more than $8 billion annually, and enhancing and enabling economic growth and vitality throughout New England. Others who spoke at today’s ceremony included Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development, who noted potential benefits for the state’s tourism industry and innovation economy; Richard Davey, Secretary of Massachusetts Department of Transportation; and Paul Guzzi, President & CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Find about more about visiting Massachusetts at MassVacation.com.
Cape Cod National Seashore – A Massachusetts Treasure
(Caption: Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Photo by Margo Tabb) Magical, dramatic, inspiring and perfect are just some of the words Trip Advisor visitors use to describe the Cape Cod National Seashore. But words cannot do justice to this unique and diverse natural resource – the Cape Cod National Seashore is a place you must experience for yourself. In 2013, more than 4.5 million visitors journeyed here to enjoy the beaches, marshes, ponds stretching across 43,607 acres on the Outer Cape, a testament to the natural beauty that beckons visitors from around the world. Run by the National Park Service, the sprawling park includes “40 miles of pristine sandy beach, marshes, ponds and uplands (that) support diverse species. Lighthouses, cultural landscapes, and wild cranberry bogs offer a glimpse of Cape Cod’s past and continuing ways of life. Swimming beaches and walking and biking trails beckon today’s visitors.” Among the treasures of the park: - Six beaches, which offer a variety of recreational opportunities, including: Coast Guard and Nauset Light in Eastham, Marconi in Wellfleet, Head of the Meadow in Truro, and Race Point and Herring Cove in Provincetown. - Three bicycle trails, including Nauset Trail in Eastham, Head of the Meadow Trail in Truro and the Province Lands Trail in Provincetown. - Eleven self-guiding trails for walking with the seashore in Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown The credit for protecting and preserving these natural landscapes of the Outer Cape go back to the 1950s, when National Parks officials teamed with public officials and local residents to introduce legislation “for the establishment of Cape Cod National Seashore.” President John F. Kennedy, a proud resident of Cape Cod himself, officially signed the Cape Cod National Seashore Bill on August 7, 1961. He said at the time, “From personal knowledge I realize very well how useful this is going to be for the people of the Cape and Massachusetts and New England and the entire United States.” Today the Cape Cod National Seashore is a viable tourism treasure that helps bolster the local economy and provide jobs. In 2013, visitors spent $185.7 million in communities near the park, and that spending supported 2,226 jobs in the local area, according to the National Parks Service. Across the Commonwealth, NPS maintains 18 parks, consisting of 46,000 acres. Over 10.4 million people visit these parks each year, producing $432 million in economic benefits. National parks are just one of many reasons tourists visit Massachusetts each year, along with history, culture, performing arts, sports and shopping. Find more details on all the Massachusetts has to offer by visiting MassVacation.com.
Massachusetts – The State of Jazz
(Caption: Jazz musicians Grace Kelly and Jason Palmer) Back in the 14th century, when Marco Polo established the Silk Road trade route between Europe and China, he was opening up new connections not just in commerce but also in culture. With new direct flights between Boston Logan International Airport and Panama City, Dubai, Istanbul and Beijing launching over the past year, the Silk Road metaphor seems apt today. Massachusetts has long been a port of call for commerce and tourism, but also a crossroads for immigration, innovation and ideas. We pride ourselves on being in the mix. Jazz itself is a well-traveled Silk Road where artistic expression, cultural traditions and creative ideas are happily exchanged. From its humble beginnings, jazz has carved out an intrepid path that winds its way throughout the world, carrying musical riches far beyond its original borders, and returning home with equal riches from cultures around the world. The 6th annual MassJazz Guide expounds upon this theme by showcasing some of the international musicians who make up the state’s jazz community, including: . Xiongguan Zhang of China, a guitarist from Shanghai Conservatory of Music who is studying jazz at the New England Conservatory. . Utar Artun of Turkey, a composer and multi-instrumentalist at Hacettepe University who came to Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, and is studying for his master’s degree at New England Conservatory. . Panos Panay, a native of Cyprus who is heading up the new Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship at Berklee College of Music. Panos started Sonicbids, a leading platform for bands to book gigs and market themselves online. . Emilio Lyons, who hails from Salerno, Italy, was recently honored by the Jazz Journalists Association and JazzBoston for his decades-long work as the legendary saxophone repairman at Rayburn Music. The 2014 MassJazz Guide, published by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, celebrates Massachusetts’ robust jazz scene, which includes festivals, jazz clubs and educational programs. There is a vibrant grassroots scene, including jazz drummers Bart Weisman and Stanley Swann, who keep the music robust here in Massachusetts; radio hosts Christopher Lydon and Jose Masso, who share their love and knowledge of jazz with their listeners; and music emissaries Sue Auclair and Fred Taylor, whose influence in the jazz world far exceeds this locality. Jazz is an important part of the cultural and artistic environment that helps make Massachusetts a great place to live, work, study and visit. It is part of the Massachusetts creative economy, which employs over 100,000 people and generates over $1 billion in economic impact for the state. MassJazz Guide is available at visitor centers, jazz venues and college campuses across the state. Find up to date details on live jazz in Massachusetts at MassJazz.com.
Massachusetts Convention Industry Rolls out SignatureBoston.com
(Caption: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and the Hynes Convention Center) Do you think Massachusetts wants your convention business? If there’s any doubt, check out the new website unveiled this week called SignatureBoston.com. It’s the latest initiative to showcase Boston’s already significant role as a major meetings destination, and its reputation for delivering exceptional service and technology to meeting professions. SignatureBoston.com is a collaborative effort between Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) and the Boston Convention Marketing Center (BCMC), designed to promote Boston’s two convention centers, the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC), and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center. It will replace “Advantage Boston,” the marketing brand previously used. James E. Rooney, executive director of the MCCA, says that exceeding customer expectations “is our signature. Unique and personal, a signature represents what a person stands for. In Boston, our signature is a commitment to deliver remarkable experiences, beyond our customers’ expectations.” Rooney says the signature concept extends beyond the convention centers, one that the entire city embraces. “From the minute attendees step into Logan Airport to their taxi rides, check-ins at the hotel and their experiences at local restaurants, Signature Boston is a promise that defines our city as the best city for a remarkable meetings experience.” Milt Herbert, executive director of the BCMC, says, “The launch of Signature Boston signifies that we are confident we can give our customers an experience they can’t find in any other city.” The new Signature Boston initiative coincides with the 10 year anniversary celebration for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). Since opening the BCEC in June 2004, Boston has consistently ranked as a Top 10 U.S. meetings and conventions destination. In the past decade, the BCEC and Hynes Convention Center combined have hosted 2,400 events, 7.2 million attendees and generated 5.2 million hotel room nights. This activity has generated $5.3 billion in economic activity for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, in 2011 the BCEC and Hynes earned a rare gold standard from the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC), making Boston only the fourth city in North America and the 12th worldwide to have been awarded this top standard, the highest certification level a convention facility can achieve under strict AIPC guidelines.
Massachusetts Invests in its Cultural Facilities
(Caption: Lexington Historical Society Building) Massachusetts just reaffirmed its commitment to culture, education and the performing arts by awarding $14 million in grants to 81 new building projects for nonprofit arts and cultural groups, schools and communities across the Commonwealth. This latest round of awards is part of the Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF), which has invested nearly $70 million in the state’s creative sector in 118 cities and towns since 2007. Here is a a list of the grants . The grants help restore many of Massachusetts’ historic buildings, which in turn preserve the character of many cities and towns and lead to increased tourism. More than 15 million people visit organizations funded by the Mass Cultural Facilities Fund annually, with nearly one third of those visitors coming from out-of-state. Governor Deval Patrick was at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield this morning to celebrate the new awards and to speak about his strategy for growth, which is focused on education, innovation and infrastructure. “Investments in our creative economy stimulate growth and opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth,” Governor Patrick said. “Through this new round of funding, we are continuing to create a more vibrant place for our students to learn, our families to live and our businesses to grow.” Administered jointly by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and MassDevelopment, the Cultural Facilities Fund’s goal is to increase investments from both the public sector and private sector so that cultural facilities in Massachusetts can benefit from sound planning and development. In addition to the 81 capital grants, the FY14 round of funding also includes 48 planning grants. The capital grants range from $7,000 to $600,000 and must be matched with funds from private philanthropy and/or other public sources. The creative economy is an important sector of the state’s economy, employing over 100,000 workers and generating $1 billion for Massachusetts. Last month, the Patrick Administration convened an all-day Creative Economy Summit at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston, where leaders met to collaborate and to celebrate the state’s robust and enduring creative community.
The Boston Pops – Streaming Live from Massachusetts
(Caption: Boston Pops Independence Day Concert on the Esplanade) There are few Fourth of July celebrations more festive, heartfelt and enduring than the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular that takes place at the Hatch Shell along the Charles River Esplanade. Conductor Keith Lockhart leads the world-famous Pops orchestra and guest artists through a joyful collection of patriotic songs, classical melodies and pop hits that appeal to the hundreds of thousands of spectators who attend. This year’s show takes place on Thursday, July 3, 2014, starting at 8:00 p.m. Now, for the first time, viewers around the nation and the world can enjoy the concert online by watching a live web stream of the entire show, sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. The webcast will remain available for 24 days on BostonPopsJuly4.org. “Thanks to the generosity of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, we couldn’t be happier to announce the first-ever webcast of the event, giving us the potential of reaching millions of additional music-loving patriots throughout the country and beyond,” Lockhart said. “That’s great news for this country’s leading Independence Day celebration!” Among the guest performers this year are the Beach Boys, Broadway star Megan Hilty and the award-winning Boston Children’s Chorus. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is a special guest and will narrate a newly commissioned Boston Pops arrangement of the Star-Spangled Banner in honor of the 200th anniversary of the song in 2014. In addition, MOTT is offering viewers a chance to win a trip to Boston to conduct the Boston Pops in during its spring season in 2015. You can enter the contest by tweeting on Twitter with #WatchThePops up through July 4, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Here are full details. The Boston Pops Firework Spectacular is just one of hundreds of festivities taking place all across Massachusetts on Independence Day weekend. You can find a full schedule here. And finally, Massachusetts is a terrific place to visit any time of year! To see all that Massachusetts has to offer, visit MassVacation.com.
Massachusetts Welcomes China
(Caption: Chinese visitors stand in front of the John Harvard statue in Cambridge.) Photo by Maria Speridakos There’s a new Silk Road coming through Massachusetts, thanks to the recent launch of Hainan Airlines’ direct air route between Boston and Beijing. Just as Marco Polo’s 14th century Silk Road opened up commerce and culture between the west and the east, this new connection between Massachusetts and China will similarly mark a new era of cooperation between two great destinations. Flight 481 landed at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Friday, June 20, 2014, filled with Chinese visitors, airline officials and business travelers eager to experience first-hand the state’s cultural richness, shopping, educational institutions, scenic land and seascapes, and business opportunities. And later that afternoon, Flight 482 left Logan Airport, filled with American tourists, business travelers and Chinese students returning home for the summer. During their stay in Boston, the Chinese visitors were greeted by Governor Deval Patrick and by officials from Massport, Massachusetts Office of Housing & Economic Development, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT), Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment and other agencies and companies that will help to develop tourism and trade partnerships in the future. MOTT Director Betsy Wall noted that 100 million new Chinese tourists will be traveling in 2015, and Massachusetts wants to capture its share of this lucrative market. MOTT, along with BrandUSA/China, took this opportunity to provide Hainan Airline officials with a familiarization tour of Greater Boston, with support from the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Cambridge Office of Tourism, and local hotels and restaurants. The group toured downtown Boston and checked out Boston’s Seaport District and Innovation Center, before heading over to Cambridge, where Trademark Tours led them on a student-guided walk around Harvard University, followed by a tour of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. They also visited several iconic visitor destinations in greater Boston, including Fenway Park, Wrentham Village Premium Shopping Outlets in Wrentham, the Museum of Fine Arts, Copley Place, and Assembly Row in Somerville. The Boston-Beijing route is the first non-stop flight between New England and Mainland China, and shaves off about six hours of time it used to take to get from city to city on connector flights. The Hainan schedule includes four nonstop flights a week in each direction, with daily flights being offered in the summer from July 18 through the end of August. In addition to boosting international tourism, Massachusetts officials are also looking to expand commerce and trade as a result of the new Boston-Beijing route. China is currently the 2nd largest recipient of Massachusetts exports, accounting for $2 billion a year in local goods, according to Paula Murphy, director of the Massachusetts Export Center. Another sector of potential growth lies in higher education. Massachusetts is currently the fourth largest host state for Chinese students, behind considerably larger states like California, Texas and Illinois. In 2013, there were 13,109 Chinese students studying in Massachusetts, and those numbers are likely to grow as China continues to familiarize itself with Massachusetts schools and all they have to offer. The Boston-Beijing route is the fourth new international direct air flight coming out of Logan International Airport in the past year. In July 2013, Copa Airlines launched its Boston-Panama City service, followed in Emirates Airline’s Boston-Istanbul route in March 2014, and finally Turkish Airlines’ Boston-Istanbul route in May 2014. For more information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.
The Magna Carta Comes to Massachusetts
(Museum of Fine Arts, photo by Phyllis Cahaly, MOTT) Visitors to Massachusetts who are intrigued by the state’s illustrious history, especially its role in the Revolutionary War and the founding of the nation, will have one more reason to visit this summer. The Magna Carta, one of the world’s great documents on behalf of liberty, freedom and the rights of individuals, is on display in Massachusetts this summer. The Magna Carta: Cornerstone of Liberty, runs at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from July 1 – September 1, 2014. The exhibit includes one of only four remaining copies of the charter, which was written in England nearly 800 years ago. Written in 1215, the Magna Carta became the inspiration for both the Massachusetts Constitution and for the Constitution of the United States, as the supreme law of the land, and subsequently for the American Bill of Rights, which protected the rights of all citizens. The Magna Carta provided the framework for “A government of laws, and not of men,” John Adams wrote at the time. The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society and Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, England, with support by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. State Representative Cory Atkins (D-Concord), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, was instrumental in working with the MFA and Lincoln Cathedral to secure the loan of the Magna Carta. In addition to the rare charter, the MFA is also putting on display some of its prized possessions, including the museum’s Sons of Liberty Bowl, created by Paul Revere in 1768, as well as sculptures, portraits and historical documents related to the original American colonies. And the Massachusetts Historical Society is loaning two manuscript copies of the Declaration of Independence and other documents of from the 18th century. The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau has put together a Magna Carta Boston History Pass for the exhibit that includes free admission to several sites along Boston’s Freedom Trail. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the Magna Carta was one of the early symbols here in Massachusetts. When Bostonians stopped recognizing the authority of the British Crown in the 1770s, the General Court instructed a committee to design a new Colony Seal. The temporary seal that was approved depicted a man holding the Magna Carta, engraved by Paul Revere himself. Massachusetts visitors and residents will have a second chance to see the exhibit, since it travels to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown after September 1, before moving to the Library of Congress in Washington DC. For more information on visiting Massachusetts this summer or any time of the year, go to MassVacation.com.
LegoLand Discovery Center Opens in Somerville Today
(Caption: Iconic Landmarks of Boston, made with 3 million lego bricks) Photo courtesy of MOTT, Phyllis M. Cahaly If you build it, they will come, so they can build something too! That’s the expectation of the LegoLand Discovery Center in Massachusetts, which opens today in the new Assembly Row complex in Somerville. Expect to see lots of families and earnest young builders descending on the new Center in the coming months, to hone their building skills and to have a lot of fun! Hailed as the company’s largest LegoLand Discovery Center in the world, it is the sixth center to open in North America, and already tickets are going fast. The buzz started in January when Lego officials held a two day competition at the Boston Public Library to find the best lego builder. Over 100 competitors participated, and the ultimate winner was Ian Coffey of Albany, now the newly hired Master Model Builder at the Somerville store! The new center has great educational and tourism value, according to Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, as group tours and school classes begin to discover it in the months ahead. The LegoLand Discovery Center is part of a much larger and exciting building project called Assembly Row in Somerville. The $1.36 billion transit-oriented development of 56.2 acres can accommodate 1.75 million square feet of office space, 852,000 square feet of retail stores, restaurants and a cinema, a 200 room hotel, and 2,100 new residential units. In addition, Partners HealthCare is moving 4,500 employees into a new office building in 2016. The Massachusetts Office of Housing & Economic Development, which oversees the state’s economic development plan,has committed $27.5 million in funding to Assembly Row through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. The funds support construction of a new MBTA Orange Line station and infrastructure needed to complete this development. These types of economic development projects are part of the state’s core strategy of long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure. Empowering regions is part of the economic development plan too, and EOHED works closely with local municipal and regional leaders to ensure that they have the means to attract and encourage business investment and job creation. Last year, EOHED launched the MetroNorth Initiative, a consortium of ten Greater Boston communities that include Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop, plus two Boston neighborhoods, Charlestown and East Boston. These are communities where businesses settle and where people live, work and play, and therefore have enormous potential for smart and dynamic growth. For more information about Massachusetts’ economic development plan, go to Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century,
Massachusetts Celebrates Tourism Day on May 14
(Caption: Swan Boats in the Public Garden, Boston) Tourism and hospitality leaders from around Massachusetts gathered today at the State House to celebrate Tourism Day. The annual event showcases the sixteen regional tourism councils across the Commonwealth and fosters awareness of the state’s third largest industry. Exhibiting at the Grand Staircase and Hall of Flags, the regional tourism advocates shared their literature, home-grown products and infectious enthusiasm for their localities that is so welcoming to visitors. The Massachusetts tourism industry has sufficient numbers to back up the enthusiasm. In 2013, visitors spent nearly $17.7 billion and generated $1.1 billion in state and local taxes. The tourism sector supports 126,000 jobs for residents. “The people who work in the tourism industry deserve the credit for making Massachusetts one of America’s most desirable vacation destinations,” says Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. Wall is particularly enthusiastic about international tourism, and MOTT has joined forces with BrandUSA, which markets the United States to the world. In 2013, international travel in Massachusetts increased by 12%, totaling over two million foreign visitors. Since 2012, Massport has launched new international air routes between Boston and Tokyo, Japan; Panama City, Panama; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Istanbul, Turkey; and starting June 20, Beijing, China. As part of the ceremonies, the Regional Tourism Councils bestowed their Champions of Tourism Award to Senator Kathleen O’Connor-Ives (D-Newburyport) and Representative Cory Atkins (D-Concord), who are current co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development. For more information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.
Masachūsettsu-shū e yōkoso!
(Caption: Governor Deval Patrick and Governor Yuji Kuroiwa at the Massachusetts State House) As part of the state’s robust global engagement strategy, Massachusetts has strengthened its economic relationship with Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture this month. Governor Deval Patrick and Governor Yuji Kuroiwa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on May 7, 2014 that enhances economic activity between Massachusetts and Kanagawa, while increasing academic exchanges and business collaborations between the two centers of innovation. The MOU is the product of the Massachusetts-Japan Innovation Partnership Mission in December 2013, during which Governor Patrick met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Governor Kuroiwa and other Japanese officials. The MOU will usher in a new era of collaboration in the innovation economy with a focus on growing jobs and opportunities in the areas of life sciences, big data, clean energy, robotics and healthcare information technology. “This agreement will foster new commercial partnerships in the vital innovation industries in both Massachusetts and Kanagawa Prefecture,” said Governor Patrick. “That’s how we grow jobs and opportunity in today’s global economy.” “Today, we are taking another step to ensure that Massachusetts remains an active player in the 21st century global economy,” said Massachusetts Office of Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “Through this increased collaboration, we are strengthening our ties abroad and expanding the reach of our innovation industries.” “We are extremely pleased that our mission to Japan has resulted in this important agreement with Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture,” said Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment Director Richard Elam. “This international collaboration offers the world the best of Japan’s and America’s life sciences and broader innovation technologies.” Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) are among the state agencies involved in this initiative. Longstanding Cultural Ties Massachusetts and Japan have longstanding ties dating back nearly a century. The Japan Society of Boston was created in 1920 to strengthen friendship and cultural, business and international relations. Since then the society has honored emissaries who exemplify this friendship. Just last week, the society honored Tony Award winner Diane Paulus, artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, at its annual dinner. Diane’s mother, Teruko Uchida, was born in Japan, and she met Diane’s father, Laurence Paulus, in Tokyo. The Japanese have played prominent cultural roles in the life of Massachusetts. One of the world’s great maestros, Seiji Ozawa, was conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1973 to 2002, the longest-serving music director in the orchestra’s illustrious history. The orchestra performed in Tokyo on May 8-10, 2014, as part of its tour to China and Japan. Since 1980, the world-renowned Koyo Conservatory of Music has been part of the Berklee International Network and sends many of its best students to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The school’s connection to Japan goes back to 1956, when acclaimed pianist and NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi was the first Japanese musician to win a scholarship to the college. The Massachusetts-Japan relationship was strengthened in 1959 when Kyoto became Boston’s first sister city. And in 1987, New Bedford/Fairhaven, in southeast Massachusetts, formed a sister city agreement with Tosashimizu, Japan, in honor of Manjiro Nakahama, a young Japanese fisherman who lived in Fairhaven in the 19th century. More recently, some of Japan’s finest pitchers – from Daisuke Matsuzaka to Koji Uehara - have contributed to the great success of the Boston Red Sox, forging an international fan base. In 2011, the Red Sox Foundation donated $50,000 to relief efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. In November 2013, the Massachusetts-Japan relationship deepened further when Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Ambassador Kennedy held a reception for Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts trade delegation in December. Trade & Travel Partners Today, the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston is active in representing Japan throughout New England. More than 130 Japanese companies support over 10,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and approximately 13,000 Japanese nationals have made Massachusetts their home. In 2013, Japan was Massachusetts’ fifth largest export partner, with Massachusetts exporting approximately $1.762 billion in goods and services, according to the Massachusetts Export Center. In 2012, Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts Port Authority announced the first non-stop flight between Boston and Tokyo (Narita), linking Massachusetts and Japan via Japan Airlines (JAL). Since the commencement of service, the flight has grown in popularity and continues to deepen the connections between the Commonwealth and Japan. Japan is one of six key global markets actively promoted by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, which has a tourism website in Japanese for tourists who want to visit Massachusetts. In 2012, 70,000 Japanese visitors came to Massachusetts, spending $108 million and generating $7 million in state and local taxes. In the months ahead, the Massachusetts-Japan connection will flourish on the fashion front, too. Uniqlo, one of Japan’s most popular clothing brands, just announced that it is launching a pop-up store in Boston this summer, followed by six permanent locations in Massachusetts in the coming year. To all of our Japanese friends, visitors and business partners, Masachūsettsu-shū e yōkoso (Welcome to Massachusetts).
Baby Boomers Visit Boston for AARP Expo, May 8-10
The Baby-boomers are coming to Boston! They are converging from all over the nation for the upcoming AARP National Event & Expo, entitled Life@ 50+, taking place May 8-10, 2014 at the Boston Convention & Exposition Center (BCEC). Organized by the American Association for Retired Persons, Life@ 50+ is a big, boisterous occasion, with three days of events, activities, seminars and products designed especially for this affluent demographic of older Americans. Life@50+ is an expo show geared to consumers, and admission is only $25 ($35 if you’re not an AARP member). About 15,000 people are expected to attend the expo, and that’s good news for the Massachusetts economy, since older visitors tend to have more disposable money to spend on hotels, restaurants and souvenirs. In Massachusetts, 37% of domestic tourists who visit are age 55 or older, according to the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT). AARP itself is a formidable organization, with over 37 million members. Nearly 55% of AARP members are college educated, and over 60% enjoy traveling. “That’s one reason why MOTT will have a booth at the expo, where it expects to distribute over 3,000 pieces of literature touting Massachusetts as a vacation destination,” says Strategic Planning Manager Darrell LeMar. Joining MOTT are regional tourism councils from around the state who will help market Massachusetts to visitors from across America. An A-List of inspirational speakers and entertainers include former First Lady Laura Bush; Boston Marathon heroes Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman; performers Linda Ronstadt, The Moody Blues, Mary Wilson and the Spinners; television personalities Whoopi Goldberg and Massachusetts native Jay Leno; and sports stars like Celtics legend Bill Russell; hockey Olympian Mike Eruzione; NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Grogan and Dan Marino and former Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant. There’s a strong community-service element to the show as well. On Thursday, May 8, Governor Deval Patrick is joining hundreds of AARP volunteers who are going into Boston’s neighborhoods for a day of service, to help with home and school projects that include landscaping, mentoring, greening projects, community gardens and senior centers. To the AARP delegates this weekend, we say, welcome, stay awhile and please, come back soon! For more information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.
Cheers to National Beer Day in Massachusetts
Today is National Beer Day across America. That is good news for beer lovers everywhere, but particularly here in Massachusetts, thanks to our robust, localized industry of craft beer makers. It turns out Massachusetts is the eighth largest exporting state for beer, according to Paula L. Murphy, Director of the Massachusetts Export Center. And our exports are growing. Our total export value in 2013 was $14.2 million, Murphy says, which represents a 113% jump over 2012. New craft brewers have been cropping up in all regions of the state, which led to the creation of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild in 2007, a non-profit group that promotes the art of craft brewing. The Guild has just issued a Massachusetts Craft Brewers Trail, which is available for free at visitor centers around the state. The map lists 65 companies across the state, with many of the breweries offering tours of their plants. Craft brewing is part of a localized, do it yourself movement gaining traction around the world, with an emphasis on local produce and home-grown ingredients. The Craft Brewers Trail brochures says that “Many of these world-class breweries feature ingredients from Massachusetts, such as locally grown and malted grains, fresh hops, and indigenous yeast strains.” The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, which promotes the state’s many culinary assets, also has a handy list of craft breweries across the state, alongside other interesting categories like Wineries, Farmers Markets, Sports Bars and Distilleries! How did National Beer Day come to be, you’re wondering? April 7, 1933 was the day that President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Cullen-Harrison Act, which essentially lifted thirteen years of alcohol prohibition in the United States. If you want to find out more about craft beer, then attend the American Craft Beer Fest, taking place May 30-31, 2014 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, and the Mass Brewers Guild Fest on August 29, 2014, also at Boston’s World Trade Center. Find out more about locally produced products at MassGrown, and to learn more about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com. Cheers!
Massachusetts Hosts Economic Development Summit on April 10
Greg Bialecki, secretary of the state’s Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, has invited leaders from business, government and academia to convene this Thursday, April 10, 2014, for Massachusetts’ annual economic development summit. Over 200 participants are attending the all-day event at the Newton Marriott Hotel, including a cross-section of business leaders, state and municipal officials and global thinkers who have helped strengthen Massachusetts’ reputation as a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. The summit is an outgrowth of Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century, the state’s central organizing framework for measuring its economic development activities. This comprehensive plan, initiated by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2010, builds upon Governor Deval Patrick ’s core strategy of long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, and focuses on five broad categories for action, along with 55 specific action steps. These five categories include Building Talent, Innovation Economy, Empowering Regions, Ease of Doing Business and Cost Competitiveness. Bialecki stresses “collaboration and strategic planning” as key ingredients for sustainable economic growth in the future, so much of the discussion will focus on state initiatives that meet these criteria. Examples include developing advanced manufacturing partnerships and middle-skills training in community colleges; creating innovation ecosystems to spawn startups; strengthening housing, job and educational opportunities across the entire state; and enacting ways to improve cost competitiveness while making it easy to do business in Massachusetts. Here is an online version of the brochure, and of the program and panelist biographies. For more information on the economic development summit, contact ChooseToCompete@state.ma.us. For an ongoing look at the state’s progress, visit Mass.gov/compete.
Agriculture Day at the Massachusetts State House
Caption: Mural on City Feed and Supply in Jamaica Plain, Boston The State House got a genuine Taste of Massachusetts this week as farmers from around the Commonwealth came to celebrate Agriculture Day, an annual event that showcases the rich bounty of food and beverage produced in-state, while giving farmers an occasion to educate public officials about issues affecting their industry. The event was organized by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and other organizations. On hand was an abundance of locally harvested and produced items, ranging from oysters, cranberry juice and apple pies to cheese, honey and milk shakes. And culinary students from the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlboro prepared and served a variety of dishes made from Massachusetts products, such as turkey, lamb, root vegetables, honey and local cheeses. Governor Deval Patrick spoke to the assembly and presented the group with a proclamation declaring March 26, 2014 at Massachusetts Architecture Day. In turn, the farmers presented the governor with an award in recognition of his support of their issues over the years. The farming industry in Massachusetts generates nearly $490 million in revenues, maintaining about 520,000 acres of open space. There are about 7,700 farms, employing 12,000 works, according to Richard Sullivan, secretary of Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs. Greg Watson, Commissioner of Department of Agricultural Resources, said that “The reliance on our agricultural community to meet the increasing demand for local products continues to grow as the Buy Local movement expands.” Paula L. Murphy, Director of the Massachusetts Export Center, says that the state exported more than $914 million of food and agricultural items in 2013. “Massachusetts is the nation’s number one exporter of scallops and the number three exporter of seafood,” Murphy adds. “And we are the nation’s number one exporter of cranberry juice.” In fact, culinary tourism is yet another reason to visit the state. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism has developed a a handy overview of culinary activities for visitors, including a culinary calendar of food festivals and fairs. For other farm produce information, check out the Massachusetts Association of Roadside Stands , and this Mass Grown Map of farm products, specialty foods and fun agricultural activities throughout the state. Here is a list of farmers’ markets, but if you can’t wait till summer, check out these 40 winter farmers’ markets.
Massachusetts Trade Mission to Panama and Mexico – New Alliances for Economic Growth
(Caption: Copa Airlines Launch at Logan International Airport in July 2013) Trade, technology and tourism are on the agenda for Governor Deval Patrick, who leads an innovation trade mission to Panama and Mexico on March 17-March 22, 2014 with a delegation of business leaders and state officials. The mission is part of an assertive global outreach Massachusetts has undertaken to form alliances with like-minded nations that share a common strategy for economic growth. In Massachusetts, that strategy centers on investing in innovation, education and infrastructure. Governor Patrick notes that Latin American business and government leaders “are eager to collaborate with us because they recognize that Massachusetts is an innovation hub with a disciplined strategy for growth.” In Panama, a country whose growth strategy is focused on science, Massachusetts officials are meeting with Panama’s Minister of Science and innovation leaders in Panama City. Massachusetts and Panama already share a strong relationship, thanks to the Copa Airlines direct route between Boston and Panama City that Massport launched in July 2013. That new route connects Massachusetts to 55 other Latin American destinations, opening up new portals to do business in one of the world’s emerging markets. The Mass Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) has held workshops for the tourism industry to help position Massachusetts in this emerging market. The Massachusetts-Panama connection could get even more stronger in the months ahead: the Panama Canal is currently undergoing an expansion that could potentially double the inputs and outputs through the Conley Container Terminal in South Boston. In Mexico, the Massachusetts delegation is meeting with leaders in clean energy, big data, life sciences and transportation sectors, to share best practices and discuss business opportunities. Massachusetts and Mexico are already significant trading partners. In 2013, Massachusetts exported $1.86 billion worth of goods and services to Mexico, and imported $3.37 billion from Mexico. Massachusetts’ reputation as a world leader in innovation continues to grow. In February, as a prelude to the trade mission, top leaders from Mexico’s innovation sectors journeyed to Boston to meet with officials from the Mass Office of International Trade & Investment (MOITI), Mass Tech Collaborative (MTC) and the Mass Clean Energy Center. Rich Elam, executive director of MOITI, said “The Mexican delegation was most interested to learn from the Massachusetts experience in building a first class innovation economy.” Ambassador Daniel Hernandez Joseph, Consul General of Mexico in Boston, says that “Massachusetts is a global leader in the knowledge economy…and Governor Patrick’s mission to Mexico comes at a perfect time to strengthen our bonds and maximize the opportunities for developing new state-of-the-art sectors.”
Massachusetts Opens New Mideast Route with Emirates Airline
Travel, commerce and education are key economic engines in the global economy, and Massachusetts has just revved up these areas with the launch of Emirates Airline this week. The non-stop flight between Boston and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, officially launched on March 10, and opens up a whole new region of the world. Named the “World’s Best Airlines” by Skytrax in 2013, Emirates has a sizable network of 142 destinations in six continents. At Boston Logan International Airport on March 10, Governor Deval Patrick told airline officials that the new route “will help the Commonwealth facilitate commerce and trade, allowing us to be a strong force and have more access to the global market.” Sir Timothy Clark, President of Emirates, said, “Great cities need great airports, and great airports need great airlines, and I hope we’re one of those. Boston is our eighth (American) gateway city, and one of our most optimistic ones, because of the (market) segmentation it offers us.” Having an enhanced international presence can only benefit the Massachusetts/New England economy. Since 2012, Massport has developed five new, non-stop international air routes between Boston and Tokyo, Panama City, Dubai, and later this spring, Istanbul and Beijing. These connections are already impacting Massachusetts across multiple sectors. Take tourism, for example, the state’s third largest employer, supporting 126,000 jobs throughout the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism reports that International tourism increased by 12% in 2013, with over two million foreign visitors coming to Massachusetts. Business opportunities stand to benefit too. There are currently more than 50 New England companies operating in the United Arabs Emirates, according to Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment. Massachusetts’ colleges and universities will also benefit. The state currently hosts 46,486 international students, an increase of 13% over 2012, ranking fourth among all U.S. states for international students, according to the Institute of International Education. Massachusetts has a longstanding tradition as an international destination, thanks to our educational institutions, medical facilities, history and heritage, cultural richness, diverse economy and beautiful natural environment. That tradition remains strong in this era of global engagement, as Massachusetts continues to seek new avenues to reach out to the world, and to invite the world here.
Massachusetts – Proud of its Olympians and its Sports Traditions
(Caption: Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White Compete at U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston in January) Now that the 2014 Winter Olympics are officially over, it is especially gratifying to sing the praises of the Massachusetts athletes who represented our state and the United States and other countries. Shannah McArdle, Director of the Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office, has compiled a summary of 30+ Sochi Olympians with Bay State Connections, who were born here, attended college here, or are playing professional sports here. It’s an impressive list that speaks to our love of sports, our competitive spirit and longstanding traditions of excellence. Massachusetts played a supportive role in this year’s Winter Olympics, when the Skating Club of Boston hosted the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January, held at TD Garden and Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). It was thrilling to see skating duo Meryl Davis and Charlie White win the Olympic Gold Medal in ice dancing, after we had just cheered them on in Boston a month earlier. McArdle is an active player in soliciting bids for major sporting events. Last fall, the Massachusetts Sports Office helped various teams and venues coordinate “Team Massachusetts” bids for large sporting events being solicited by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In December we got the good news that Massachusetts was awarded six NCAA sporting events for 2014-2017: Betsy Wall, executive director of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) , says that sporting events bring substantial economic benefits to Massachusetts by attracting fans from all over the world, who stay overnight in hotels, eat in restaurants, shop at stores and visit the state’s many tourist attractions. The U.S. Figure Skating Championships underscores the economic impact these events bring. Nearly 1100,000 spectators came to Boston for the week-long skating events, spending an estimated $20 million. The event also contributed to the highest hotel occupancy since 2007 for the month of December, according to the Boston Business Journal. In the wake of the successful Boston outing comes more good news: Boston is slated to host the 2016 International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships. Boston has rightful claims to be called the City of Champions: since 2000, the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics won a combined 8 championship titles. That winning spirit also extends to our collegiate teams and filters down to our high school athletes too. For more information about how Massachusetts promotes itself as a premier sports destination, contact the Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office.
Massachusetts Goes West to Enlist New College Students
Educators from Massachusetts are hitting the road this season to attend National College Fairs in Texas and California, part of an organized effort to entice high school students to select the Bay State for their college choice. The roadshows are organized by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM), an educational association representing over 60 independent and private schools in Massachusetts. AICUM has teamed up with the state’s public universities and colleges to present a united front at these fairs. The strategy is to create a distinct brand by bringing together dozens of participating schools from across the Commonwealth into a single pavilion under the Massachusetts banner. It’s a novel way for the Massachusetts schools to stand out before the thousands of high school students, parents and guidance counsellors shopping for colleges in the sprawling exhibit, which has schools from all 50 states. This week AICUM is attending the Dallas/Ft. Worth National College Fair on Monday, February 10, at the Irving Convention Center in Las Colinas, followed by the Houston National College Fair at the Reliant Center on Thursday, February 13. At each show, a full range of Massachusetts colleges are represented, from University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Northeastern University to Mt. Holyoke College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In April, Massachusetts is attending the National College Fairs in San Diego on April 23 and Los Angeles/Pasadena on May 1, 2014. California ranks third - after New York and Connecticut – for the number of non-Massachusetts students enrolling here each year. The outreach to prospective college students fits into Governor Deval Patrick’s strategy for growth, which is “about investing time, ideas and money in education, innovation and infrastructure.” Massachusetts has one of the most renowned clusters of universities and colleges, research centers, and medical training institutions in the world. With over 100 college campuses across the state, and over 500,000 students enrolled each year, Massachusetts offers an impressive range of educational choices that include private and public universities, medium sized colleges, denomination schools, all-women’s colleges, art and music schools, technical schools and community colleges. The Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development has worked with innovation industries to set up excellent internship programs in Life Sciences, BioTechnology, Clean Energy, High Tech and other fields, which allow students to make the transition from college curriculums to real-life experience. To find out more about what Massachusetts has to offer, visit AICUM for private colleges and universities, or the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education for a list of public higher education campuses. If you’re planning to visit college campuses in the coming year, MassVacation.com has a handy compendium of schools, with information on directions, transportation, local events , hotels and restaurants and other things to make your trip memorable.
New England Music Awards – Fueling Our Creative Economy
Want to get in on the ground floor of discovering future Grammy Award winners or rock n’ roll Hall-of-Famers? Then make your way to the 3rd annual New England Music Awards, taking place at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on February 21-22, 2014. It’s an amazing showcase of the region’s best independent musicians and bands, many of them destined for stardom. State tourism officials are delighted that NEMA has found its home in Lowell, a city known for hosting first-class musical events such as the Lowell Folk Festival and the Lowell Summer Music Series each summer. Because of its location, affordability, cultural traditions and proximity to highways and transportation, Lowell is the perfect place to host this regional event, says Deb Belanger, head of the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, who helped bring NEMA to the city in 2013. She wants the event to grow in Lowell each year, and we do too. The local music scene is part of the bustling creative community in Massachusetts, which employs over 100,000 people and contributes $1 billion to the state’s economy, says Helena Frucio, who heads up the state’s Creative Economy Initiative. Keeping musicians and other artists busy, prosperous and satisfied with where they live is important to the state. A robust performing arts scene also attracts tourists from across the country and around the world, and that is good for our economy. As a sign of the NEMA’s growing popularity, over 4,200 bands submitted entries this year, says Joseph Graham, co-founder of the event. Over 100 finalists were culled from the entries by a committee of top music journalists, radio personalities, talent buyers and record label executives from across the six New England states. Then online voters choose the winners. The awards ceremony on Saturday, February 22, is hosted by comedian Steve Sweeney, a Massachusetts treasure in his own right. He’ll help announce the awards in 23 different categories, including Band of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best in State for each of the six New England states. What we like about NEMA is its commitment to helping independent musicians find the right resources to be successful. On Saturday afternoon it is presenting a free Artists Conference, in which aspiring and seasoned musicians alike can attend workshops on marketing and social media, hear live demonstrations, meet talent scouts and ask questions about business contracts, insurance and other topics of interest. Pundits are already suggesting that NEMA could become the next SXSW Music Festival, the iconic gathering of indie music lovers that takes place in Austin, TX, each winter. We say why not! Massachusetts has the cultural traditions, grassroots spirit and natural talent, plus a host of excellent music colleges (Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, UMass/Amherst and UMass/Lowell to name a few), to become a major destination for performing arts festivities. In the past few years alone, we’ve had a slew of new festivals, including Boston Calling festival at City Hall Plaza, Outside the Box arts festival in downtown Boston, Life is Good Festival in Canton, the Nines Festival in Devens, and the Summer Arts Weekend at Boston’s Copley Square. Performing Arts is one of those quality of life assets that help to define a place. A strong cultural scene is an incentive for talented people to visit, study, and settle down here. Our performing arts scene continues to grow stronger each year, and that is good for our Creative Economy.
The Boston – Beijing Route Opens Up a New Silk Road
The new direct air route between Boston and Beijing, launching on Friday, June 20, 2014 with Hainan Airlines, is causing great excitement and anticipation in Massachusetts and indeed throughout New England. In January officials from the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism conducted an all-day workshop in Boston to discuss how our tourism industry can take advantage of the new route. MOTT Director Betsy Wall noted that 100 million new Chinese tourists will be traveling in 2015, and Massachusetts wants to capture its share of this lucrative market. MOTT has partnered with BrandUSA, America’s national tourism agency, to reach out to Chinese tour operators, business travelers, students, families and travel agents in the coming months. And MOTT is also working with Massport to promote this route along with other new international routes to Central and South America, Turkey and the Middle East. This global outreach is part of the The Patrick Administration’s economic strategy plan, Choosing to Compete, designed to strengthen economic opportunities on every front. Governor Patrick’s recent Innovation Partnership mission to the Near East, for example, has already created new business partnerships with Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Massachusetts-China connection is not new. In the 19th century, local entrepreneurial sea merchants like Robert Bennet Forbes of Milton and Elias Derby of Salem forged important new trading links with China. Boston merchants brought back boatloads of tea, spices, silk and other exotic goods, fueling the Massachusetts economy while also establishing the Bay State as an international port of call. Many of the artifacts from this era have been carefully preserved at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem and other smaller venues found on the China Trade Trail, created by the Forbes House Museum and Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Back in the 13th century days of Venetian explorer Marco Polo, the term Silk Road was used to describe the 4,000 mile trade routes between China and Europe. Silk Road was one of the world’s first networking connectors, linking not only economic trade and commerce but also serving as a cultural bridge between two different parts of the world. That term has been rejuvenated today by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, whose Silk Road Project is a fascinating exploration of music and culture “as a means of communication and as a vehicle for the migration of ideas” across the world. Ma, who was born in Paris of Chinese parents, now lives in Massachusetts and has centered the Silk Road Project at Harvard University. We are optimistic that in the coming years, the Boston-Beijing connection will create a new Silk Road, opening up new opportunities for the exchange of business and commerce, tourism and education, and culture and ideas between these two great destinations.
Welcome to Our Blog
Massachusetts It’s All Here has been a familiar tag line to people seeking to find out more about Massachusetts –why it’s a great place to live, work, study, visit, invest in, start a business or grow a business. Yes, we know there is already an abundance of information on virtually anything you want to know about Massachusetts, and that’s the way we like it. Our blog, MassItsAllHere has a more specific purpose: to create an ongoing narrative about Massachusetts that reaches across multiple sectors and points of reference. By focusing on innovation, growing the economy, jobs, education, quality of life and the creative arts, we hope to arrive at the essence of Massachusetts. We’ll enlist some guest bloggers to help us tell the story of Massachusetts, and we welcome your suggestions along the way! -The Commonwealth Marketing Office
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