Representing businesses of all sizes, nonprofits and municipalities throughout the region, almost 200 people gathered last week to celebrate the first anniversary of the MetroWest Tourism & Visitors Bureau and to kick off a regional branding campaign entitled “MORE MetroWest.”
Most of the two-hour Thursday morning event, held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Westborough, was devoted to sharing and celebrating the qualities that make MetroWest MORE special.
In roundtable discussion, attendees were asked, “What do you like MORE about MetroWest?”
Answers ranged from “diversity of dining options” to “plentiful picknicking spots” to “handmade chocolate stores," said Bureau Executive Director Susan Nicholl.
With attendees hailing from 20 towns and every sort of business — retail, hotel, arts and culture, dining, real estate, education, high-tech, financial services, and construction — there was a diversity of perspectives about the gems of MetroWest, said Nicholl.
The Visitors Bureau, an independent nonprofit organization, was created to stimulate economic activity in the region by marketing the assets of MetroWest to residents and visitors. It is headquartered in Framingham.
Event attendees pledged to stimulate economic activity immediately by spending $10 within 48 hours, said Nicholl.
Twenty of the attendees randomly received a $10 bill, courtesy of Roche Bros., to spend, and many of them posted on the Visitors Bureau’s Facebook page to let others know where they spent their $10, explained Nicholl.
“I learned so much MORE about MetroWest,” one attendee posted. “I wish there were MORE hours in the day so I could explore it all! Great event.”
The bureau was created by 2010 state legislation introduced by Sen. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), who was also the keynote speaker for the MORE MetroWest event.
The legislation designated the MetroWest Tourism & Visitors Bureau as a Regional Tourism Council. The organization officially launched in December 2011 as a membership organization devoted to creating marketing products and services aimed at attracting more dollars to the region.
As a Regional Tourism Council, the Visitors Bureau receives a state grant that matches, dollar-for-dollar, revenues that the Bureau receives from its products and services. Within 1-12 months of their receipt, these revenues, as well as the state funding, are all spent on these services.
Most prominent among the Visitors Bureau’s new products is a Guide to MetroWest; 35,000 copies are distributed twice yearly throughout New England and in MetroWest, added Nicholl.
The Bureau also offers an online Guide at www.metrowestvisitors.org
Thanks to Charlie Pasewark of Photography in Motion for the photos of the Jan. 31 event.