September and October are typically a time for change for visitor-based businesses on Cape Ann, and despite this year’s unprecedented circumstances, that is true in 2020 – and this was reflected in our Tourism Council meeting on September 18.
We took this opportunity to look back on Summer 2020 and to share thoughts and ideas on the months ahead. The Tourism Council has continued discussions like this throughout the year, undaunted by the pandemic. As was the case in our Spring and Summer meetings, there was a valuable exchange of updates, encouragement, and plans for the future.
We heard from a number of lodging establishments who reported some positive experiences from Summer 2020, with many first-time guests from nearby regions, and widespread cooperation with new safety protocols. We heard from those representing long-term renters, who spoke about similar signs this summer and reasons for optimism in the months ahead. We heard from attractions who are finding new ways to engage with their communities in the wake of continued COVID-19 limitations and restrictions – Christmas tree sales at Maritime Gloucester, picnics at Beauport, and the celebration of the new Cape Ann Museum Green. We reflected on our restaurants’ busy summer and the steps being taken to prepare for the change in seasons. We received an update on the early discussions around the holiday season in Rockport and across Cape Ann, a topic we will no doubt hear more about in the weeks ahead. And we began a future-focused conversation about how the tourism community might address an issue that has taken on new meaning in communities across our nation in 2020 – diversity and inclusion.
An opportunity to learn more about these plans and the experiences of Summer 2020 will be the October 14 Cape Ann tourism webinar, a collaborative effort with Discover Gloucester. All are invited to join this online presentation and roundtable that evening, from 5:30-6:30pm. We will address past, present, and future “COVID-19 challenges, community resiliency, determination and creative alternatives.” Watch for an invitation to what promises to be “an informative, spirited and educational evening” as organizers present findings from roundtable discussions held earlier this fall.
Future planning be the central topic of our next Tourism Council meeting on October 16. Those interested in our visitor-based economy – particularly tourism businesses – are encouraged to join us. If you have questions or comments on the Tourism Council or anything discussed here, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-owner, Blue Shutters Beachside Inn
President, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce 2020 Board
Chair, Tourism Council