At the August meeting of the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Tourism Council, there was mix of celebration, caution, and optimism.
We celebrated a successful start to the summer season, with reports of an uptick in business among our accommodations, restaurants and attractions. Among the highlights was the season-long Culture Splash, which has made Thursdays an important date on the tourism calendar…something we hope to extend beyond the summer season. We also reflected on the Rockport Illuminations Weekend, which was a particular bright spot (literally and figuratively) this summer, as well as the success of the August Block Party and the Festival by the Sea. And finally, we received an update on the high expectations for the Waterfront Festival slated to begin the day after our August 20 meeting (the Waterfront Festival, in fact, a hit — despite being limited to one day because of Tropical Storm Henri).
The cautionary conversations surrounded the COVID concerns that have arisen in recent weeks. The group agreed that we should monitor the situation and work with local officials to ensure the safety of visitors to Cape Ann.
As we looked to the future, we expressed hope and excitement about the plans for the fall and holiday seasons, with the return of many of the events that have played a major role in the Cape Ann visitor experience – the Labor Day Weekend Schooner festival, October’s Cape Ann Plein Air outdoor painting competition, as well as the holiday event events later in the year. This will include the 2021-2022 version of the Winter Lights program that debuted late last fall and — based on response from visitors, residents and businesses – continued through January.
We also discussed the possibility of developing “did you know” mini-guides that would provide details on some key aspects of Cape Ann most popular visitors. Building on our conversations around the winter birding season, we talked about focusing on topics like historic homes, tidal pools, wildlife, sea glass, dining, movies filmed on Cape Ann, distilleries and breweries, fishing, whale-watching and more.
We’ll continue our discussion of these and other year-round tourism planning in our next meeting, scheduled for Friday, September 17. We meet on the third Friday of each month at 8:30, at the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce offices, and you’re welcome to join us for these meetings at supporting the Cape Ann tourism community
Co-owner, Blue Shutters Beachside Inn
Chair, Tourism Council