From the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce:
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP VISITOR CENTERS OPEN!
Each year, Regional Tourism Councils all over Massachusetts depend on a public-private partnership to help offset operating costs for state-owned visitor centers, which serve more than 2.5 million travelers annually and cost more than $1 million for staffing and overhead (which is growing year over year due to increasing wages and benefits). Sometimes, the legislature includes us, and sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately, the FY20 budget did not include us.
As of July 1st (the height of tourism season), many Massachusetts Visitor Centers will have to adjust their services. This will include reduced hours, reduced staffing, and in some cases, possible closures.
Visitor Information Centers are our state’s welcome centers and in many cases the first stop and impression one has when visiting our state by car. These state-owned centers (buildings, property or both) are located at strategic locations across Massachusetts, including Salisbury, Plymouth, Cape Cod, Wareham, Greenfield, Adams, Lancaster and Boston. They provide visitors with a central location/portal for things to do, places to visit, attractions, and mapping. And even though technology has a significant place in today’s world, travelers consistently stop at Massachusetts Visitor Centers for respite, refreshments, maps & guides, and to ask specific questions regarding traffic and weather conditions. Information centers and technology are a blend. Both are used, and both are needed.
Without a sustainable public-private partnership, many more centers will close just like Chelmsford, Merrimac, Mansfield, and Swansea. The industry’s continued advocacy and appeals do not appear effective. Clearly, it is unwelcoming and discouraging to the traveling public to have centers closed, in disrepair and not offering sanitary facilities. Additionally, regional state police barracks report that unmanned visitor centers experience higher crime and vandalism, which is obviously not what any of us want for Massachusetts.
Please use the link below to contact your State Legislators and urge them to secure funding for the Visitor Information Centers in FY 20 and beyond. This crisis should not occur each year.
Thank you for the support!