The summer got off to a great start in June – with signs of the season coming well before spring had a chance to end – but the discussion at our most recent Tourism Council meeting on June 18, reached far beyond the current warm-weather months.
There were extensive conversations about birding on Cape Ann and how to best to promote the region as a “birder’s paradise” during the winter months, as well as the spring and fall seasons. Council members recommended following up with local birding writer John Nelson and Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, and discussed the benefits of sharing information about birding events and activities already planned. Watch for further updates on this important “off-season” initiative, which will be headed by Rockport’s Mechelle Brown and Emerson Inn’s Kimberly Voltero.
We also heard an update on the Chamber’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) initiatives and its implications for the tourism community and the Council’s work. Several members of the Tourism Council are involved in this Chamber effort, headed by Council member Carole Sharoff of Atlantic Vacation Homes.
And of course, we addressed the summer season, with a number of community updates. This included a report from the Beauport Hotel that meetings, weddings and other group business is coming back strong. We heard from Mechelle about grant-supported improvements in Rockport that include beautification projects (planters and flowers) and new picnic tables; and the town’s plans for fireworks, which will take place on August 14, part of Illuminations Weekend and “Lobstas & Lights.” Amanda Pollock told us about Cape Ann Museum’s weekly “Culture Splash” program that will start soon.
And finally, we discussed the return of Chamber summer events – the Block Party, Festival by the Sea and Waterfront Festival are all planning to return this summer.
One more exciting development – this was our second “hybrid” meeting, with the majority of members attending in-person at the Chamber’s new offices on Harbor Loop in Gloucester, while others participated vis Zoom.