Massachusetts Holds Tourism Workshop on Emerging Asia Markets

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(Map Courtesy of Massport)

In the 1990s, business forecasters predicted that tourism/hospitality would become the number one service industry of the 21st century. That prediction has come true, and today’s travel market continues to expand rapidly thanks to new technology, larger aircraft and more leisure time, plus the emergence of millions of new travelers from countries like China, India, Mexico and Brazil.

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism recently held an all-day forum called “Focus on Asia Workshop” at the Omni Parker House in Boston. There, travel experts discussed the market profiles of Japan, India and China, three countries that are central to the development of the state’s tourism industry.

Tom Glynn, CEO of Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), gave an overview of his agency’s work over the past two years to bring new international air routes to Boston’s Logan International Airport.

Between 2012 and 2014, Massport introduced new direct air routes between Boston and Tokyo, Panama, Dubai, Istanbul and Beijing, and in 2015 is adding Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Port-au-Prince and Shanghai.

Part of the attraction, Glynn said, has to do with an international affinity for Massachusetts schools and medical and research institutions, and its innovation economy. In 2014, there were 51,240 international students in Massachusetts, including 15,423 from China.

Betsy Wall, Director of MOTT, noted that Massachusetts has many assets of interest to these travelers, including shopping, natural beauty and outdoor amenities, lobster and other seafood, affordability and easy in getting around. Tourism is the third largest employer in Massachusetts, supporting 126,000 jobs. In 2013, visitors spent nearly $17 billion in direct spending.

Among the other speakers at the forum: Jackie Ennis, International Marketing, MOTT; Shoko Hirao, Global Consulting, MOTT Japan; Mariko Brothers, Japan Airlines; Jason Pacheco, BRIC Marketing Group; Bowen Gao, Sunshine Travel; Steve Gent; Travel Payments Direct; Elizabeth Carey, Attract China; and Yvette Fang, Red & Blue International.

Massport currently has 75 domestic and 44 international destinations served nonstop from Logan Airport, according to Yil Surehan, Director of Airline Route Development at Massport.

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