Late November and December is a special time for everyone on Cape Ann, but this is particularly true to the region’s tourism community. These are typically the busiest weeks of off-season in terms of visitors, and it’s when many of our tourism businesses plan for the year ahead.
Despite the challenges of 2020, that was the case this December, and these topics were the focus for our December 18 Tourism Council meeting.
We reviewed Cape Ann’s holiday activities, including the popular Winter Lights program that debuted in late November. This is sure to become a Cape Ann tradition, given the response from participating establishments – more than160 across the region – and from the public. In our Council meeting, we discussed the overwhelmingly positive comments on social media and the coverage this generated, including a mention in the Boston Globe Magazine. We also talked about other Cape Ann holiday celebrations, successfully presented with new safety precautions. These holiday activities have resulted in several retail businesses reporting some of their best seasonal sales in years. One of the key focuses of this holiday season is “shop local,” and it was reported that the desire to avoid the larger stores and malls off Cape Ann has provided a boost to our retailers.
We also looked beyond the holidays, sharing ideas for the winter months. We discussed emphasizing the “open space and fresh air” of Cape Ann – a key consideration as the world continues to deal with pandemic concerns. We talked how this focus on outdoor activities is helping to shift the demographics of visitors, with more young professionals coming to enjoy the quiet, natural beauty of Cape Ann in the off-season. And talked through plans for campaigns built around this open space focus as well as winter holidays, school vacation weeks, and other special dates on the winter calendar. Once activity that’s certain to be part of this season is the Winter Lights program, which will be extended beyond its planned finale on January 2.
We will pick up on these discussions in our next Tourism Council meeting – on Friday, January 15 — recapping the holiday season and doing more 2021 planning.
If you would like to participate – or if you have questions or comments on the Tourism Council or anything discussed here — please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you…and Happy New Year!
Co-owner, Blue Shutters Beachside Inn
President, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce 2020 Board
Chair, Tourism Council