Tourism–Massachusetts 3rd Largest Industry

Once you’ve learned the technique, they’re easy to prepare.

Just slice off the top, slice off the bottom, stand it on end and slice off the sides. Cut it in half lengthwise, slice off the core, and cut what’s left into bites.

It being a pineapple. I like the new golden pineapples best. But the old-fashioned kind that showed up on my desk last week was pretty darn good.

Remember, the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality. So, logically, the state’s hospitality people gave one to every legislator to mark Tourism Day in the State House. After all, they’re the ones who welcome our 26-million tourists to the Commonwealth each year and the agency wants to be sure we keep funding it.

That’s right, 26-million people visit Massachusetts each year, and they spend $12.2-billion. That generates another $618-million in state and local taxes.

People in the travel and hospitality industry number 142,800, with an annual payroll of $3.4-billion, according to the state’s Office of Travel and Tourism.

When you add it all up, the total economic impact of tourism in the Bay State is $19.8-billion.

Oh yes, the pineapple. The tourism folks tell me that the pineapple has a long history in Massachusetts.

They told us that history recorded that many ships sailed from Nantucket in search of whale oil in the South Seas. When they discovered the existence of the pineapple, a strange and exotic fruit never seen by North Americans, the sea captains brought the fruit back as prized gifts for families and friends.

They presented it by placing a pineapple over the spike on their iron gate as public notice that the captain had returned and was holding an open house.

Since then, the pineapple has been used as a symbol of welcome and hospitality.

See what we learn on days like Tourism Day in the State House?

There was Beer Day, too–but no free samples in either cans or bottles.

Actually, it was Malt Beverage Day, or Beer Industry Legislative Awareness Day. And, that’s not a small industry in Massachusetts either.

In Western Massachusetts alone, the payroll is $10.6-million. And we pay $l.8-million in beer excise taxes. The industry also takes credit for another $1-million in other state and local taxes.

In the state as a whole, there are 25 brewers and 36 wholesalers. They claim $73-million in federal taxes, $13.8-million in state taxes, and $605-million in sales.

There are almost two dozen beer distributors, including Westfield’s own Commercial Distributing (Miller, Molson, Mike’s and Boston Beer).

The industry wanted to be sure we’d vote against any new taxes on beer and wanted us to be aware of changes in the can recycling business.

Also seeking funding from legislators were the people who run the Talking Information Center. Representatives of the 150,000 who use the service.

They provide print disabled people (politically correct words for the blind) with access to the printed word through a radio network, a reading service,

Subscribers can hear articles from local and national newspapers and magazines–everything from obituaries and job openings to sports, supermarket specials, and tv programming.

Just three examples of "days" in the State House. And there are many more.

Last month alone, just for starters, we had visits from members of the Springfield Chamber, immigrants, Realtors, League of Women Voters, professional designers and architects, advocates for the autistic, the lodging industry, district attorneys, Project Bread, Children’s Trust Fund, Center for Women and Enterprise, United Way, Gun Owners Action League, Association for Retarded Citizens, Mass Maritime Academy.

And a few others.

We learn a lot!




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