1. Articles in category: Tourism

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    1. Survey offers positive news for Western Mass travel and tourism (Editorial)

      Survey offers positive news for Western Mass travel and tourism (Editorial)

      As of April 6, according to the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, the business of hosting conventions, meetings trade shows and competitions in the Pioneer Valley has taken a $27-milion and growing hit from coronavirus. In 2018, travel and tourism had a $928 million impact on the Pioneer Valley’s economy, according to a 2019 study by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. The industry is responsible for 5,773 jobs.

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    2. Decision on new date of Basketball Hall of Fame 2020 enshrinement, postponed due to coronavirus crisis, expected in June

      Decision on new date of Basketball Hall of Fame 2020 enshrinement, postponed due to coronavirus crisis, expected in June

      Officials with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will decide by mid-June whether to delay this year’s enshrinement events to the fall or postpone them to early next year. In a statement Thursday, Hall of Fame president and CEO John Doleva said the new date will be announced following a June 15 board meeting. This year’s events were originally planned for late August. The late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January, is among the Class of 2020, along with former Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett.

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    3. Future for Boston Convention and Exhibition Center uncertain as Massachusetts tourism drops amid coronavirus outbreak

      Future for Boston Convention and Exhibition Center uncertain as Massachusetts tourism drops amid coronavirus outbreak

      With a 1,000-bed field hospital for COVID-19 patients occupying its main hall, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is full for now, but numerous analyses suggest that once the hospital closes it will take the BCEC months or longer under a best-case medical scenario to resume its role as a major driver of Boston’s tourism economy. Business travel will return slowly after COVID-19 begins to loosen its grip on the country, analysts said, and the large-group excursions that support the BCEC and the clusters of hotels that serve it will be among the last sectors of the economy ...

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    4. Will the Big E be held in 2020? Fears of coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ events could force cancellation of signature event

      Will the Big E be held in 2020? Fears of coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ events could force cancellation of signature event

      Long before coronavirus became an international health crisis, before workplaces were closed and schools transitioned to virtual learning, planning for this year’s Big E was underway. It takes about 18 months to plan the annual 17-day fair in West Springfield and as of early May, organizational efforts for the 2020 fair are “about 90% complete,” Eastern State Exposition President and CEO Eugene J. Cassidy told MassLive.

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    5. ‘2020 is gone’: Hotel operators see bleak months ahead thanks to coronavirus

      ‘2020 is gone’: Hotel operators see bleak months ahead thanks to coronavirus

      Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, said hotels have already suffered a drop in occupancy rates from a seasonally normal 60% to 20%. And occupancy rates will be stuck at about 20% into May, a time of year when 80% or more of hotel rooms normally would be full. “This May is not going to be like any May we’ve ever had before,” said Shardool Parmar, president of the Pioneer Valley Hotel Group. “I think a lot of it is going to be on whatever the state decides as businesses reopen. This is ...

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    6. Basketball Hall of Fame eyes June or July opening; enshrinement of class including Kobe Bryant still set for late August

      Basketball Hall of Fame eyes June or July opening; enshrinement of class including Kobe Bryant still set for late August

      The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame now plans to reopen in the middle of June or by the Fourth of July, said John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the hoop shrine, on Friday. The Hall of Fame would reopen with new protocols in place for sanitation, distancing between visitors and other precautions, said Doleva, while admitting that the situation could change. Speaking on a live question-and-answer session with state Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow and Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, Doleva said the 2020 enshrinement — where the late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe ...

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    7. Eastern States Exposition loses $330K from canceled events; still planning for fall Big E

      Eastern States Exposition loses $330K from canceled events; still planning for fall Big E

      Groups have cancelled 31 events, shows and competitions that had been planned for the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, but the fair’s president says he’s confident The Big E itself will go on in five months. On Thursday, the inaugural Hooplandia 3-on-3 basketball tournament — which was expected to bring 10,000 players of all ages to the fairgrounds and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame while injecting $12 million into the local economy — was canceled because of COVID-19. Organizers said they plan to hold the first tournament in 2021 instead.

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    8. Hooplandia tournament postponed by The Big E, Basketball Hall of Fame

      Hooplandia tournament postponed by The Big E, Basketball Hall of Fame

      Hooplandia, the inaugural 3-on-3 basketball tournament that would have brought 2,500 teams with 10,000 players of all ages to The Big E and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and $12 million into the local economy has been cancelled this year because of COVID-19, organizers said Thursday.

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    9. Coronavirus: 107 canceled, postponed Western Mass. events cost economy $27M

      Coronavirus: 107 canceled, postponed Western Mass. events cost economy $27M

      The business of hosting conventions, meetings, trade shows and competitions in the Pioneer Valley has taken a $27-million-and-growing hit from the coronavirus, according to the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. So far, organizers and hosts have cancelled 107 events that were to have taken place in March or early April and were at one point scheduled for April and May, said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the bureau.

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    10. Cities, agencies apply for funds to ‘mitigate’ impact of MGM Springfield casino - masslive.com

      Cities, agencies apply for funds to ‘mitigate’ impact of MGM Springfield casino - masslive.com

      The city and various agencies are applying for 2020 casino mitigation funds for expenses ranging from a proposed downtown parking study to continued rent assistance for the sheriff’s substance abuse center.  Other applicants include the Springfield Police Department, which is seeking funds for special equipment such as riot shields and active shooter kits, and the Fire Department, which wants a two-firefighter tactical unit available for non-emergency calls to MGM Springfield.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    11. Hooplandia Has the Makings of a Legacy Event

      Hooplandia Has the Makings of a Legacy Event

      One observer referred to Hoopfest, the giant 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Spokane, Wash., as a ‘phenomenon,’ and the adjective fits. The event consumes 40 blocks in the downtown and literally takes over the city each June. Inspired, a group of organizers are looking to do something similar — although Springfield won’t be taken over — in just four months. The event is called Hooplandia, and it’s already being hailed as a slam dunk for the region.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    12. Greater Springfield Becoming a More Attractive Convention Site

      Greater Springfield Becoming a More Attractive Convention Site

      Conventions are good business for a city like Springfield. But they don’t exist in a vacuum. “We’ll ask if they have time for things outside their program,” said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCVB). “Are they bringing spouses? Will they have time, either pre-event or post-event, to go to Yankee Candle, or Six Flags, or the Seuss museum?” “That’s part of their convention experience as well,” added Alicia Szenda, the GSVCB’s director of Sales. “They might be at the MassMutual Center for three or four days, but they might do ...

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    13. Hospitality is Massachusetts’ 3rd largest industry: Outlook 2020 Viewpoint Mary Kay Wydra

      Hospitality is Massachusetts’ 3rd largest industry: Outlook 2020 Viewpoint Mary Kay Wydra

      As I considered the topic of “Jobs and Education in the 21st Century” and its relevance to tourism, my thoughts quickly turned to the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. Today, this group is a veritable who’s who of business leaders in Western Massachusetts, yet, interestingly, many of them began their careers in entry-level jobs in the hospitality industry.

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    14. Renovations signal new era at Springfield’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

      Renovations signal new era at Springfield’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

      The current Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame site is its third location in the physical sense. In real terms, it’s the fourth, a virtually brand-new version of an existing structure. “We will wrap up all our new construction in 2020,” says President and CEO John L. Doleva with pride and satisfaction. “The outside of the dome was finished (in 2019). Individual lights will be installed in March, after the weather breaks. When it’s done, 40% of the inside will have been redone from the 2002 version.”

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    15. Red Sox Winter Weekend, Hoophall Classic drew 10,000 visitors and $7M in spending, visitors bureau says

      Red Sox Winter Weekend, Hoophall Classic drew 10,000 visitors and $7M in spending, visitors bureau says

      Basketball great LeBron James wasn’t the only person visiting Springfield over the past seven days. The Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau on Friday said that the Hoophall Classic —where James turned up to see his son, Bronny James, play on the Sierra Canyon High School team — and the Red Sox Winter Weekend drew more than 10,000 visitors to greater Springfield.

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    16. Youth basketball players from Springfield and Holyoke hoop it up during Winter All-Star Festivities (photos) - masslive.com

      Youth basketball players from Springfield and Holyoke hoop it up during Winter All-Star Festivities (photos) - masslive.com

      Youth basketball players from Holyoke and Springfield showed off their talents Wednesday evening as part of the Winter All-Star Festivities at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  The event was hosted by the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative, C3 Forest Park and Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno also took part.

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    17. ‘Ice Invasion’ Happening in Downtown Springfield

      ‘Ice Invasion’ Happening in Downtown Springfield

      The Springfield Business Improvement District is again bringing more than a dozen ice sculptures to downtown Springfield for the 3rdAnnual Ice Invasion beginning today. This ice invasion coincides with the Winter Weekend being staged by the Boston Red Sox, making an exciting time for the city and its downtown. From the MassMutual Center and MGM Springfield up to the Springfield Museums and down to Union Station, visitors will be able to find an ice sculpture at almost every street corner. This year’s ‘invasion’ will feature a diverse lineup of sculptures, including Wally the Green Monster, baseball players ...

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    18. MGM Springfield to welcome Boston Red Sox at 'Winter Weekend’ - masslive.com

      MGM Springfield to welcome Boston Red Sox at 'Winter Weekend’ - masslive.com

      Before the Boston Red Sox head down to sunny Fort Myers, Florida, for spring training, the team will spend a “Winter Weekend” with fans at MGM Springfield.  MGM Springfield anticipates more than 10,000 visitors descending on downtown Springfield for the event and portions of Main and State streets near the casino will be closed to traffic.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    19. Howdy Awards Program Calls for Nominations

      Howdy Awards Program Calls for Nominations

      Through March 1, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) is providing an opportunity to thank individuals who provide great service by nominating them for a Howdy Award for Hospitality Excellence. To nominate someone, visit explorewesternmass.com and click on the Howdy logo. For 25 years, the Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence program has recognized outstanding restaurant servers, attraction attendants, bartenders, hotel personnel, retail clerks, and others across Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Official categories include accommodations, attractions, banquets and meetings, beverage, food casual, food tableside, public service, retail, transportation, and people’s choice (a category voted on by ...

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    20. Bright Nights’ 25th season in final days - masslive.com

      Bright Nights’ 25th season in final days - masslive.com

      After completing a VIP drive through Bright Nights at Forest Park just after ending its run for the season when it first opened, Dennis Bell, director of sales for Carpenter Decorating in North Carolina, gave a special compliment to Bright Nights and the displays the company created for the nationally-recognized holiday light show.  “Bright Nights on its last night looks better than some holiday light displays look on their first nights,” Bell told Judith A. Matt, president of the Spirit of Springfield.

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    21. Springfield Thunderbirds Partner with White Lion Brewing to Promote ‘Blast from the Past’ Night @ MassMutual Center January 11

      Springfield Thunderbirds Partner with White Lion Brewing to Promote ‘Blast from the Past’ Night @ MassMutual Center January 11

      On Thursday, the Springfield Thunderbirds and White Lion Brewing Company announced that the two will partner to produce a special, limited edition can design for White Lion Thunder Boom™, available in select locations - including the MassMutual Center - beginning Friday, Dec. 13 and through the Thunderbirds’ “Blast from the Past” Night on Sat., Jan. 11, while supplies last.

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    22. As It Marks 25 Years, Bright Nights Displays Power of Collaboration

      As It Marks 25 Years, Bright Nights Displays Power of Collaboration

      Judy Matt had been tracking the results daily, almost hourly, and then … she couldn’t any longer. So, she’ll have to wait, like everyone else, to see how Bright Nights at Forest Park fares in this year’s USA Today competition to determine the top 10 holiday lighting shows in the country. When she was last able to check the tabulations before the magazine stopped running a count — presumably to build suspense for the Dec. 13 announcement regarding this and some other contests — Matt noted that Bright Nights was running fourth, behind such vaunted displays as the Legendary Lights ...

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    23. Yankee Candle opens $6.5M R&D lab in Deerfield, consolidates manufacturing in Franklin County

      Yankee Candle opens $6.5M R&D lab in Deerfield, consolidates manufacturing in Franklin County

      There was a warm, flickering glow Friday when lab technicians dimmed the lights in a burn room at the new Yankee Candle research and development laboratory. After all, there were about 1,000 candles burning, all lined up on stainless-steel lab benches under the latest in climate-control and fire-suppression technology.

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