Updated on June 27, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts, the testifier of the American Revolution, and an international hub for education. Boston takes pride in its rich history and is counted as one of the oldest cities in America. Popularly known as “Beantown”, the name originated from Boston baked beans, a dish that was created during colonial times.

Boston’s magnificent architecture recalls over 400 years of history and innovation. It’s no secret Boston is rich with history. From the American Revolution to the site of the very first public school, it’s a city with stories to tell. Each Boston neighborhood tells its own story, a tale of community, culture, and eclectic commercial areas.

Boston has the cleanest harbor in the US and its parks, gardens and outdoor spaces are second to none. It’s a city for sports fans and families, couples and history buffs, gourmets, and culture vultures.

Let’s take a look at the city’s industry tourism outlook and statistics.

PRE & PANDEMIC TRENDS AND STATISTICS

  • Boston has nearly 300 historic sites within the city limits, including 58 National Historic Landmarks. Some of the most popular attractions are linked by two walking trails: The Freedom Trail and the Black Heritage Trail. 
  • Boston entertains many types of visitors each year: those seeking historical sites, museums, sporting events, restaurants, theatre, or business conventions.
  • According to the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, an estimated 22.7 million people visited Boston in 2019. Of those, an estimated 2.9 million were international visitors to Greater Boston. Cruising generates more than $130 million dollars for the regional economy and supports more than 2,000 jobs.
  • The hospitality industry in Greater Boston was among the strongest in the U.S., thanks to multiple drivers of demand — including higher education, professional sports leagues, medical institutions, tourism, the business community, and more.
  • In the hospitality industry in Greater Boston a return to pre-pandemic levels isn’t expected until 2025.
  • Boston is an attractive destination for conventions, meetings, and gate shows.
  • Boston is home to the oldest public park in the U.S.
  • The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, along with the John B. Hynes Memorial Convention Center, hosted 336 events, with an aggregate of 832,243 attendees, generating 800,000 hotel room nights and $870 million in economic impact.
  • Tourism is a large Boston industry, which supported approximately 63,000 Accommodation and Food Services jobs in 2019, 9.3% of Boston’s total payroll jobs.
  • The number of hotel rooms available in the City has grown over the last 10 years, increasing from about 18,000 rooms to almost 23,000 rooms.
  • As of January 2020, Boston had 93 hotels, with an average daily room rate of $269 per night.
  • Corporate travel, which made up the majority of lodging demand in Boston and Cambridge at 35% in October 2019, sat at a paltry 11% in October 2021.
  • Boston’s cultural calendar is bouncing back with contemporary and classic plays, musicals, classical masterworks, jazz performances, rock concerts, and much more. 
  • Boston is actually named after a town in England. Many of Boston’s early settlers were from Boston, England, and decided to keep the name.

MOTIVE AND TRENDS

  • Visiting friends and relatives is the most frequently reported primary trip purpose.
  • Boston.com is the region’s leading digital destination for information on all things Boston and beyond – for free.
  • The majority of adults who use Boston.com are between the ages of 18 to 34, have above-average incomes, and have a high net worth. 
  • Boston.com’s audience is comprised of slightly more women than men.
  • Visiting friends or relatives is the dominant trip purpose and accounts for 49.1% of all domestic trips. Entertainment/ sightseeing accounts for 15.0% of all trips. Pleasure/Personal travel accounts for 13.4% of all trips.
  • Nearly 80% of all person trips in FY2019 included an overnight stay. Overnight visits averaged nearly 3.5 nights.
  • Boston receives the majority of visitors through road transport, 71.6%. Air travel ranks second at 15.2%.
  • Summer, from May to September, is the most popular period for tourists as the days are warm and sunny and most of the city’s attractions are open.

OTHER TRENDS

  • Prior to the pandemic, tourism was the third-largest industry in Massachusetts and employed around 10% of the state’s residents.
  • Boston is almost a different city in the summer. Summer sees far fewer people on subway trains and on the roads, as well as in restaurants, cafes, and bars; especially across the river in Cambridge
  • Fewer visitors head to Boston during these cold months, so there are plenty of deals to be had on flights and hotels.
  • Boston hotels are still feeling the sting of a lack of corporate travel but are slowly climbing out of their massive performance lows of last winter.
  • The Boston hotel market had an occupancy rate of 58% and an average daily rate of approximately $210 while revenue per available room, or RevPAR, was $121, down 36% from November 2019.
  • The number of visitors to Boston National Historical Park amounted to approximately 3.2 million in 2019, reducing to 0.27 in 2020 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 containment measures before returning to a characteristic value of 1.09 million visitors in 2021.
  • In FY2019, there were 26.8 million total domestic visitors to MA. Visitors from New England and the mid-Atlantic states (NY, NJ, and PA) accounted for 78.5% of all domestic person trips to the state.
  • The largest state source of visitors was Massachusetts residents themselves, 8.4 million person trips, 31.4% of all domestic trips; followed by New York state with 3.8 million person trips, 14.1% of trips; and Connecticut, 2.7 million person trips, 10.1% of trips.
  • Historically, about one-third of all international visitors to MA come from Canada, another third from Europe, and the rest from all other countries.
  • The number of hotel rooms available in the City has grown over the last 10 years, increasing from about 18,000 rooms to almost 23,000 rooms. Much of this was in response to demand resulting from the construction of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC).
  • 6% of the domestic visitors who spent at least one night in Massachusetts stayed in a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast.
  • Domestic visitors account for approximately 93% of all visitor spending. International visitor spending accounts for approximately 7%
  • After two devastating years for the cruise industry, passenger ships are returning to Boston Harbor full steam ahead in 2022, prompting hopes for a revival of the industry in Boston.
  • This year 2022, Massport will welcome 125 ships from 19 cruise lines supporting the local travel and tourism industries.
  • The Cruiseport will welcome 12 maiden calls, and for the first time, will have four cruise lines offering five homeport ships and voyages:
  • Massport served a record 402,346 passengers on 138 ships in 2019. 
  • Residents and visitors to Boston are no longer required by the City to wear a face-covering in indoor public spaces, such as gyms, bars and restaurants, museums, and entertainment venues. 
  • As of 2012 and according to U.S. Census Bureau data, 15.1% of Bostonians walked to work — the highest percentage among the major U.S. cities.

REFERENCES

https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2021/09/08/bostons-hotel-industry-remains-largely-checked-ou.html

https://www.bisnow.com/boston/news/hotel/lack-of-corporate-travel-still-hindering-boston-hotels-slow-climb-out-of-pandemic-performance-depths-111256

https://www.statista.com/statistics/253844/number-of-visitors-to-boston-national-historical-park-in-the-us/

https://www.visitma.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020_Annual_Report.pdf

https://www.boston.gov/sites/default/files/file/2021/04/6%20-Volume%201%20-%20Boston%E2%80%99s%20People%20and%20Economy_1.pdf

https://www.visitma.com/media-industry-portal/stats-reports/

https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/27434-massport-elected-officials-partners-celebrate-return-of-cruising-in-boston.html