24 FEB 2013: Boston has produced more Nobel Prize winners than any place else on the planet. It helps that “America’s Walking City” is home turf to Ivy League campuses like MIT and Harvard. Even pop culture has representation, Hollywood star Tommy Lee Jones (Oscar nominated for Lincoln), and screenwriter Chris Terrio (best writer Oscar nominee for Argo) hail from Harvard.


So what’s with all these brainiacs?

The Smarts

Last week tourism reps from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts paid a visit to Toronto to showcase some of its laurels.

VoX International, the Canadian DMO representing the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT), hosted a media breakfast to dish on the latest, newest, and of course, a marketing first.

Victoria Cimino, US PR supervisor, said, “We planned an unprecedented advertising campaign for the state of Massachusetts; and this spring we launch a million dollar consumer advertising programme that will focus primarily on TV, digital and print media. This is the first time Massachusetts has done this kind of consumer marketing here in Toronto and also Montreal.”

Included in the mix is a marketing agreement with Porter Airlines. Victoria relayed that it is due to air travel being the fastest mode of transportation into Massachusetts. So watch for more racoon-infused campaigns; maybe even meeting up with the Massachusetts mascot, MOTT the squirrel.

When you land, download the free ‘Ask a Local’ iPhone app on iTunes for ideas.

The numbers

In 2011 677,000 Canadians visited The Commonwealth. “That’s an increase of 15,000 over 2010 so the growth trend is expected,” Victoria noted. The bulk traffic: Ontario and Quebec. In 2011, 216,400 Ontarians and even more from Quebec (302,400) visited Massachusetts.

Ontario leisure travellers have three favourite pastimes:

⋅ Shopping
⋅ Sightseeing
⋅ Visiting historic sites

Arts please

Canadians are preparing to hit the salty sea, sit back at a pub, heck even eyeball A-listers like sexiest man alive Bradley Cooper who starred in The Elephant Man at last summer’s Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Folks can usually take in the melodies of music icon James Taylor who enjoys performing at Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) summer home. The legendary folk artist will be releasing a new CD (yippee!) – so he’ll be a no show this year - but don’t let this detract any Tanglewood summer plans.

BSO’s Jason Lyon and Brian Butterworth, a rep for some swanky historic properties in the Berkshires, have listed oodles of other reasons to hit the town.

Beantown is always brimming with art and culture. Just ask Martha Davis from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston who is ga-ga over the new Art of Americas wing. Reconstructed period rooms and 5,000 pieces dating from the pre Columbian to the 2Oth century are now under one roof. The prized institution is known worldwide for its mega collection.

LGBT


America’s first state to legalize same sex marriage is moving ahead with more tourism initiatives. Check out the cool micro-site LGBTMASSvacation.com for blogs, marriage info, and a things to do section.

Trains, Cars and Ferries

Don’t let soaring gas prices get in the way of a good time. Victoria says nothing’s more than 2.5 hour drive away from Boston. “It’s doable.”

Cape Cod is the arm sticking out. It’s where you’ll find 560 miles of pristine coastline. Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are also just off the coast. Victoria grins, “As you might know President Obama has picked Martha’s Vineyard for his vacation place so if it’s good enough for him its good enough for me.”

The state has resurrected a railway summer service between the popular Boston-Cape Cod corridor. The CapeFLYER will run on weekends and is a sweet 2.5 hour commute through quaint countryside. Once in Cape Cod, consider a car rental but some folks decide to rent bikes and hitch a ferry ride to see other pretty ports.

Pilgrim’s Progress

Ask about Thanksgiving and get a quick nod on how this is the biggest festival known to mankind ever, well around the state of Massachusetts - and more like around Plymouth County.

Paula Fisher, director of marketing for the Plymouth County Conventions and Visitors Bureau, a 14th generation descendent herself, is so Mayflower, her own foray into tourism was as a role player at the Plimoth Plantation

“I was the sister-in-law of Governor William Bradford,” she grins when we talk about the legacy of Plimoth Plantation. Governor Bradford’s famous because he wrote “the” formidable journal Of Plymouth Plantation and is the visionary behind Thanksgiving.

To boot, this jewel in the crown sees nearly 400,000 visitors annually. History buffs can’t get enough of the place nor should your history hound clients.

Whale of a Good Time


Paula flashes a broad smile as she lists the reasons why whaling is big along the coast she reps. “We’ve got whale watching between April and October and you could pretty much see whales from Salem, Boston, and Plymouth.”

But then there’s the ultimate whaler’s hotspot of New Bedford, the place where Herman Melville hopped aboard a whaling vessel Acushnet, and was inspired to write the American classic Moby Dick, “which was actually written in Pittsfield,” she noted, located in the Berkshires.

“History buffs will also appreciate another whaling reference, New Bedford was at one time, the wealthiest city in the world due to whaling,” Victoria marvelled.

Farm fresh

Believe it or not farm stays are popular. For that authentic agri-vibe hit Harman’s Herbe Farm in Barre; Blue Heron Farm in Charlemont or the Inn at Sweetwater Farm in Great Barrington.

At some point watch for a new major farmers market in the city center of Boston.

New Things on the Block


Boston Commons has some new accommodations.

Try America’s first LEED-certified International Youth Hostel. The new 468-bed lodging has 22 private rooms with their own bathrooms and comes wi-fi ready. Continental breakfast included as well as daily activities like voluntourism. Expect to pay US$30-$40 during off-season with prices (skyrocketing) in summer to a whopping $40-$50 dollars. Great for the pocket book, the hostel is a nine-minute walk from the Amtrak South Station Terminal, and a 15-minute public transit ride via the Silver Line coach to Logan International Airport ($2.50).

In the Berkshires, Red Lion Inn completed renovations and if there’s a client in need of a fabulous 17 room heritage home, Maple Glen is available for rental. ‘It’s got a fireplace cozy family room, everything you’d come to expect from a nice home,” offers Brian Butterworth, Red Lion Inn’s director of sales.

Multilingual


With more foreign tourists descending on Boston’s streets, one local tour operator has got this market nailed.

Specializing in multilingual tours and the city’s first tour company offering multilingual tours, Rafael Torres, president of Don Quijote Tours says all the romance languages are covered (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French and okay English...just cue to Downton Abbey). His tours take you to the iconic sites plus his academic tours of Harvard and MIT are popular.

“Everybody wants to see what Harvard looks like,” he smiles.

Now how smart is that?



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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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