Legislative leaders hear from local organizations on pandemic-related changes to tourism
By Danny Jin, The Berkshire Eagle Oct 19, 2021
HANCOCK — The pandemic has brought more changes to Berkshire County’s cultural attractions than just safety restrictions. Leaders of local culture and tourism organizations say they have begun to see younger visitors, more year-round traffic, more digital guests and more interest in outdoor recreation.
They detailed those changes Tuesday in a meeting with members of the state Legislature’s committee on tourism, arts and cultural development.
All four Berkshire County state representatives, as well as leaders of statewide arts and culture groups, attended the gathering at Hancock Shaker Village.
In 2019, visitors spent $554 million in the Berkshires, supported more than 4,400 local jobs, and generated $29 million and $6 million, respectively, in state and local taxes, according to the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.
“There’s oftentimes criticism of the quality of jobs in hospitality and tourism, but the reality is that piece of our economy in the Berkshires is so built-up in bulk that there’s plenty of opportunities along the entirety of the spectrum from entry-level to mid-career to management and beyond,” said Jonathan Butler, president and CEO of 1Berkshires, an economic development group.
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