For additional information, please contact:
1Berkshire, SVP of Tourism and Marketing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tourism Rebounds and Remains an Essential Building Block for Berkshire Economy
December 9, 2022- Berkshire County-1Berkshire was happy to report at their Annual Meeting last night that the 2021 tourism impact numbers are in, and they show a 55% increase in direct visitor spending over 2020 (data comes from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, which defines visitors as those who are more than 50 miles away from home). Also worth mentioning is that spending in 2021 was 1% over that of 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. This major increase in tourism spending in 2021 truly signals a strong growth trajectory for the hospitality and tourism industry in the area.
“As identified in our Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 back in 2019, tourism is one of our 5 essential clusters; this continues to be true as we enter into 2023. It is an integral part of the Berkshire economy, sustaining economic growth and enhancing the quality of life for residents across the region. The pandemic which stalled this sector somewhat has now rebounded, and in 2021 we were able to surpass our impact of 2019. COVID has really made travelers aware of the importance of getting outside and finding moments of exploration closer to home, and luckily, the Berkshires has been able to provide this solace for many new visitors and returning ones,” stated Lindsey Schmid, 1Berkshire’s Sr. Vice President of Tourism and Marketing. “At 1Berkshire, we have harnessed this new way of thinking about travel and utilized it in our marketing efforts, focusing on younger, more diverse visitors, as well as taking time to welcome back our legacy visitors who may have stayed away in 2020.”
For 2021, the total economic impact of tourism in the Berkshires was $900 million dollars. Jobs directly related to tourism supported 4,134 residents throughout the county in 2021, which brings associated payroll to $136.1million. Visitors in the Berkshires generated $616.4 million of spending at local businesses throughout the county in 2021. This spending returned almost $32.9 million to the state in tax revenue, and Berkshire communities received an additional $19.1 million to use for local services.
Also interesting to note, based on our 2021 Visitor Perception Study, our visitors’ median age is now 41, down from 53 just 7 years prior, and we have seen a decrease in median income. Simultaneously, we are seeing increases in those that come here with children, as well as a large increase in those who say they take part in outdoor activities.
“Overarchingly, the future of tourism in our region continues to be strong, as shown by the website traffic to berkshires.org. In 2021, visitation to our site was up 18% over 2019 and is on track to be well above that for 2022. Our focus at 1Berkshire is to expand visitation in our shoulder seasons. Most recently, we were awarded a Tourism Season Extension grant in conjunction with the other Western MA regional tourism councils for one million dollars to do this work. These funds will help augment all of our other marketing efforts to keep the Berkshires top of mind year-round and further help in bolstering this important economic cluster in our region,” concluded Schmid.
1Berkshire is a county-wide organization focused on economic development and promotion of the region as a preferred place to visit, to live, and to grow a business. It provides programs that connect businesses with each other and with potential customers and works to develop future leaders and support entrepreneurs. For more information, visit 1Berkshire.com.