Discover New England held its 23rd Annual Tourism Summit and International Marketplace in Falmouth, Cape Cod in April. The conference drew 400+ members of the travel industry to discuss ways to harness the growth brought about by new flights, new markets and new products, including 85 international buyers from 15 countries.
Among the countries who sent representatives: United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.
The essence of the annual meeting, according to DNE, is for tourism professions from throughout New England to meet directly with international tour and receptive operators, educating them about their travel products, establishing relationships and initiating contracts for both tours and foreign independent travelers.
Discover New England Executive Director Lori Harnois called the summit, “the only event of its kind in New England. Each year, our tourism industry comes together to develop business relationships with top international travel professionals who organize, package and market U.S. trips to many thousands of overseas visitors each year.”
U.S Travel Association’s President and CEO Roger Dow was the keynote speaker, who said, “The potential value of the Discover New England summit to the region’s destinations and hospitality businesses cannot be overstated. The ability to connect with dozens upon dozens of influential travel buyers all at one event provides tremendous bang for the marketing buck, and will elevate the region’s entire economy and jobs base with the huge volume of visitors they will bring on the back end.”
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Executive Director Francois Nivaud welcomed the delegates to the Commonwealth, saying, “Massachusetts is a proud and active partner in DNE’s distinct marketing initiative to brand New England as an international visitor destination.
“Taken individually, the six states of this region are relatively small, especially compared to California or New York or Florida. So it would be challenging for any one state to compete or market itself on the world stage. But taken together, these six New England states have become a formidable visitor destination that attracts people from all over the world. In 2016, New England hosted 2.1 million visitors who spent $6.1 billion traveling throughout our region.”
Nivaud also gave special thanks to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and other local groups for their hospitality in hosting this unique gathering.
A highlight of the Summit was a presentation of the upcoming Plymouth 400 celebration marking the arrival of the Pilgrims to Massachusetts in 1620. It featured a cultural performance by the Wampanoag Nation and Plimoth Plantation, then a New England clambake followed by fireworks on the beach. Also, MOTT introduced its new Massachusetts Whale Trail, a collection of 40 activities including whale watching tours, maritime sites and historic properties.