BOSTON (CBS) – Tourism and hospitality is Boston’s third largest industry and while industry experts said this past summer showed a somewhat return to normalcy in the city, a lot more needs to be done.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism in Massachusetts brought in more than $22 billion, but according to the U.S. Travel Association, the state’s industry is now recovering at a slower pace than almost every other state in the country.
“Travel and tourism is really the front door to economic development, it’s not just about filling hotels and restaurants,” U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said.
Ed and Linda Baehr make the drive down to Boston from Maine to visit throughout the year and said this holiday season doesn’t seem much different from 2020.
“It’s less busier. We noticed that when we came in after the pandemic not that many people and I think it’s true in a lot of places,” Linda Baehr said.
“Coming in isn’t the chore it used to be, we’re not getting on I-95 and waiting an hour and a half to get into Boston,” Ed Baehr said.
Dow said city leaders should focus on encouraging employers to bring back business travel to Boston.
“Leisure has been really good with a decent summer, but we’ve got to get business travel, meetings and conventions and international travel back which is all coming,” he said.
Despite a quiet Wednesday evening at Faneuil Hall, we found one couple in town from Utah for a work trip enjoying Boston for the first time.
“It’s been pretty exciting to finally get out of the state and go places but also taking the precautions we need too,” Cody Stanger said.
Despite the slow comeback, tourism experts said 2022 will be a much stronger year for tourism in Massachusetts.