Tourism Officials Expect Strong Summer to Continue through ‘Shoulder Season’

HYANNIS – The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce is calling the 2018 summer season a success so far for tourism-related business.

Labor Day Weekend signals the transition into the so-called shoulder season, but still a time of strong revenue for many in the industry.

Based on initial numbers, it appears tourism-related business was up over 4% from last year as of the end of July. The figures are tied to a survey that is done of hotels that participate in the Smith Travel Research data collection.

There are about 10,000 bedrooms that are eligible for that on Cape Cod through hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts. The figures do not count short-term rentals.

“It’s been a very strong summer season and I see no way for that to change into the next best season which is September, October and November,” said Wendy Northcross, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO.

The water is at its warmest and the weather regularly remains consistent with warm temperatures.

For many, the shoulder seasons are a critical part of their entire yearly budgets.

Northcross said revenues for many businesses on the Cape in September can rival the months of July and August.

“Cape Codders know that our best weather is in September,” Northcross said.

Beachgoers can also have a more relaxed experience at the beaches knowing that children have gone back to school.

“There’s people who wait for September to take their primary vacation and they are going to love the Cape and Islands,” Northcross said.

Room rates continue to remain strong and businesses like whale watches and ferries continue to run on summer schedules throughout the month.

The Chamber will be rolling out a new digital marketing campaign to attract even more visitors during the shoulder season.

Due to efforts by state legislators and Governor Charlie Baker, a new law will now pay all tourism and marketing funds for the entire year at the start of the fiscal year.

“In the past we sometimes didn’t know what our grant award amount is for budgeting purposes until November or December,” Northcoross said. “But now that we absolutely know we have marketing firepower for the fall – something we haven’t had for the last several years.”

The marketing will be targeting the Metro Boston area.

Northcross said the weather can have a large impact for tourism, especially from nearby residents in Metro Boston, Worcester or western parts of the state who are planning to make weekend trips to the Cape.

“They watch that weather forecast carefully because quite honestly in the summer time most of them are coming here because they are lured by the beaches and the cooler weather,” Northcross said. “[With] triple digits in Boston we can clean up on the Cape and we did have a little bit of that.”

International guests usually come regardless of the weather and are typical visitors during the shoulder seasons.

Northcross said the presence of sharks was not causing a decline in tourism at the time, as many people have actually embraced their prevalence along our shores.

She also said it was good news that planned work on the Bourne Bridge was going to shift from this fall to the spring of 2019.

Long-term, Northcross said they were still pushing hard for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to come up a with a permanent solution for the future of the canal bridges.

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