How Was The Summer on Cape Cod? Tourism Official Weighs In

northcrossHYANNIS – As the Cape transitions from the hectic pace of July and August to the shoulder season, tourism officials say it was a good summer.

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross said the summer of 2015 was notable for beautiful weather.

“It’s been a very strong season,” she said.

The only complaint, she said, is that the weather was perhaps not hot enough to encourage last-minute day trips to the Cape.

Northcross said that the majority of hard numbers from the summer season come in early October with data from room taxes, bridge crossings, the Cape Cod National Seashore and data from chamber members.

From anecdotal data, though, Northcross said, “it’s been a pretty good year” for retail and “it’s been a phenomenal year” for restaurants.”

In the restaurant industry on Cape, “people were desperate to find enough workers, which is always a sign” of how the summer is going, she said.

Even using college students, international students on J1 visas and workers from other countries on H2B visas, there is still more demand for seasonal workers, Northcross said.

To address one of the main issues that creates a challenge in finding workers, the chamber is establishing a workforce development task force this month. The task force will bring forward a model bylaw to allow more accessory housing in Cape towns.

Northcross said lack of rental housing continues to be a major issue on the Cape.

“I think we’re at a tipping point. I think we have felt significant pain. We’re looking at census figures that show yet again more out-migration of young people,” she said.

The task force will bring the model bylaw to officials in some of the Cape’s larger towns as a way to help younger families stay on the Cape.

“We’re in a position now where we’ve got to make some changes,” she said. “It does not cost money. It’s political will.”

In the lodging industry, Northcross said that occupancy rates were strong this summer except mid-week stays. Northcross said the soft mid-week occupancy rates follow a national trend.

“We think that business that historically has stayed in hotels is renting homes,” she said.

The average length of stay at a hotel is under three days and the average stay in a rental home is five to seven days.

Northcross says the travel and tourism segment remains one of the strongest segments in the economy, number one in the world and number four in the United States.

And September, Northcross said, is the second best month for Cape businesses, so the chamber is continuing its advertising campaigns to bring people to the region for fall festivals and events.

The Cape Cod Has It campaign spreads the message, Northcross said, “that Cape Cod is nearby and we have a lot going on.”

“Columbus Day is the new Labor Day,” Northcross said.

To hear more from Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross, click below.

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