The travel and tourism industry in Massachusetts had a record-setting performance in 2018, according to the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT). Numbers released by the U.S. Travel Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce indicate that in calendar year 2018, the Commonwealth welcomed 31 million domestic and international visitors who spent $24.2 billion, a 5.6% increase of $1.3 billion over 2017. This spending generated $1.6 billion in combined state and local taxes for Massachusetts and its municipalities, an increase of 5.1% from 2017.

Domestic travel spending in Massachusetts grew to $19.9 billion, a 6% increase from 2017. International visitors spent $4.3 billion in 2018, a 3.7% increase from the previous year. That increase in international visitor spending sharply contrasts with international spending in the U.S. overall, which increased by 0.3%.

“Massachusetts continues to attract business and leisure travelers from around the world, thanks to our historic tourism assets, stellar convention and hospitality workforce, vibrant innovation economy and world-class colleges and universities,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “We are proud of the Commonwealth’s tourism industry and its ongoing contributions in both jobs and economic growth.”

The number of jobs supported by traveler spending increased by 3,750 in 2017 to 153,200 jobs in 2018. These jobs range from entry-level positions, middle management jobs and executive career paths, underscoring the diversity of the Commonwealth’s travel and tourism industry.

“MOTT has built a solid partnership with its 16 regional tourism councils, cultural and historical destinations, lodging and dining venues and outdoor and sports facilities, and this strong industry collaboration accounts for Massachusetts’ healthy tourism performance in 2018,” said MOTT Executive Director Keiko Matsudo Orrall.

“Additionally, Massport’s success in launching new international and domestic direct routes at Boston Logan International Airport and Worcester Regional Airport offers travelers unprecedented opportunities for visiting Massachusetts any time of year,” Orrall added.

Boston Logan International Airport currently operates direct air service to and from 77 domestic and 56 international destinations, while Worcester Regional Airport has direct service to 5 domestic destinations which provide convenient one-stop access to both US and international networks, according to Massport.

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About the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

MOTT’s mission is to promote Massachusetts as both a leisure and business travel destination for domestic and international visitors. MOTT highlights the state’s culture, history, cuisine and outdoor resources, working closely with 16 regional tourism councils across the state and with larger tourism alliances such as Discover New England and BrandUSA.