I was touched by your post on giving up the car seat/booster seat. I remember that happening- really well- in our family and wishing that time could stand still. But the next thing I knew, we were teaching them to drive that same booster seat-less vehicle. It all goes by too fast!
Thnx for your comments about the ABA Marketplace I attended in Charlotte NC January 5-9. And, no, ABA isn’t the acronym for what you thought it was, lol…. I was at the American Bus Association trade show, meeting with apx. 60 pre-qualified tour operators from around the US & Canada who want to bring visitors here. Group travelers account for a big part of the visitation and income that Gloucester, Essex, Rockport and the North Shore enjoys. 30+ businesses in our community work with group travelers, and that does not include cruise ship travelers. We have a long way to go to become better group-friendly hosts, and we need to make it happen, because they’re coming!
On Thursday night I returned from a very successful 3 day trip to Los Angeles for a Japanese sales mission put together by the MA Office of Travel & Tourism, and Discover New England, an organization that promotes visitation to New England from Europe, South America & Asia. I was there to let the 40 tour operators from Japan know that our destination has the "New England experience" that their individual Japanese clients are looking for without having to drive to Maine. The new (hopefully bug-free) Boeing Dreamliner Tokyo/Boston non-stop daily flights and that there are so many Japanese students at Boston area colleges assure that there will be an increase in visitation to our area from not only Japan, but from other Asian countries. The majority of Japanese- and Europeans, for that matter- still buy their travel from travel agencies/tour operators because their countries require travel insurance. The US does not. I was the only attendee there from our region, which was great! Other attendees were form Maine, NH, RI, Conn., VT, Plymouth MA, Cape Cod MA and Boston.
What do the Japanese visitors want in their "New England experience"? They want to see & do what is popular for visitors in the region, and they want to pack it all in: Seafood- the more the better, especially lobster; to get out on the water to see lighthouses and the coastline; to see American architecture, historic homes & art/cultural museums; shopping; American breakfasts- and did I mention seafood, lol?
Bottom line selling points: We have what they want, and we’re close to Boston.
See the attached picture showing a few new Japanese friends at our luncheon table. The boxes in front of us contained two trays with small plates of sushi, sashimi, beef, tempura and other yummys. A soup and rice was served as well. Delish food, and wonderfully gracious people.
Now, to get working on all the followup from both events!
Lastly, all readers interested in Discover Gloucester’s volunteer effort to get more visitors to come here are invited to come to our Annual Meeting/Mug Up on Tuesday, January 22, 6:30PM, downstairs at CruisePort. Thanks to Sheree DeLorenzo for her generosity & hospitality for hosting us. Folks will learn how the money from our primary source of income- the Discover Gloucester Visitor Guide- was spent in 2012, and what we have planned for 2013 and beyond. This is still a grass-roots organization, in it’s 6th year of gettin’ it done, with measurable, successful results.
Thanks for your continued support, Joey, and for always shining a positive light on Gloucester!