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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) has launched the Downtown Springfield Check-in Challenge, a new program that aims to highlight the attractions and restaurants adjacent to the MassMutual Center for convention attendees and anyone else visiting Springfield.

The passport is a free program that visitors and even locals can sign up for. With more than 17 local businesses included within the passport, it showcases the best of Downtown Springfield in an easy, mobile-friendly way.

“Conventions are coming back to the MassMutual Center this fall, and we want to make sure these attendees can find all of the great dining options and attractions located just blocks away from the convention center,” GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra said.

The GSCVB has partnered with a well-known technology company in the travel space, Bandwango, which aims to support free and paid experiences created by destinations and marketed to visitors and locals. Using this technology, the GSCVB began working alongside local businesses to get their offerings loaded into the Downtown Springfield Check-in Challenge.

Visitors and locals will now be able to visit a dedicated mobile passport landing page where they can sign up for the Downtown Springfield Check-in Challenge by providing their name, e-mail address, and mobile phone number. A link is then sent to their mobile phone, which opens the passport and directs the user to add the button icon to their home screen, where they can access it any time.

Once the visitor has checked into three locations, they will automatically win a pair of Springfield City of First socks designed by local small business Upscale Socks.

Merchant onboarding is still in progress. Any business wishing to be a part of the pass by becoming a GSCVB member can contact GSCVB Vice President of Sales Alicia Szenda at aszenda@explorewesternmass.com. The Downtown Springfield Check-in Challenge is accessible at explorewesternmass.com/checkinchallenge.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCVB), the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council (EDC), and MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board have partnered to produce a regional in-person job fair called the Western Mass Job Trail. On consecutive Wednesdays, Sept. 8 and 15, dozens of participating businesses will host hiring events at their locations in an effort to help fill the hundreds of jobs available in the region.

Job seekers will be directed to participating businesses where they can walk in, fill out an application, get an interview, and maybe even a job on the spot. Available positions are posted at explorewesternmass.com and www.westernmassedc.com. Participating businesses will place balloons and signage at their hiring locations until their jobs are filled.

“So many of our tourism partners have asked us to help spread the word about individual hiring events that we decided to implement a more regional approach to our industry’s critical employee shortage,” GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra said. “As a popular New England visitor destination, our members need to be fully staffed to accommodate and properly serve locals and visitors alike.”

Rick Sullivan, CEO and president of the EDC, added that “the Western Mass Job Trail is an innovative way to engage our residents who are looking for employment, while simultaneously supporting our corporate businesses in the region. We look forward to the positive outcome this initiative will have on workforce development.”

Businesses can still get involved in the Western Mass Job Trail by contacting the GSCVB ([email protected]) or the EDC ([email protected]).

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Eric Lesser was joined by Mary Kay Wydra, president of Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, and John Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, on Monday to announce $250,000 in funding for tourism marketing in the Pioneer Valley.

“This funding for tourism marketing will help us begin to rebuild and bring business to our restaurants, attractions, and hospitality industry across the board,” Lesser said. “This grant is meant to promote Western Massachusetts for socially distanced activities, and hopefully, when visitors are here, they’ll fill up their gas tanks, buy dinner, buy souvenirs, and help us hire back workers for the many jobs that were lost. This funding is a vital measure to begin putting money back into the local economy and back into our local families.”

Added Wydra, “with abundant opportunities for outdoor and socially distant recreation as well as iconic attractions, Western Massachusetts is well-positioned to welcome visitors. The tourism industry has been particularly hard-hit by the effects of COVID-19, and this funding will provide a much-needed boost to our marketing efforts to safely reopen our industry, generate economic activity for our region, and put people back to work.”

Doleva noted that “Senator Lesser’s work on securing this very important grant to aggressively restart the tourism industry in Western Massachusetts demonstrates his willingness to listen, analyze, and respond to the real need of getting thousands of workers and hundreds of businesses back up and running, which are a major contributor to our local economy. Western Massachusetts is well-positioned to tell the story of safe, serene, fun, and engaging family activities not only for this period as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, but for years to come. This grant will elevate tourism in our region to a new level permanently, and his efforts are appreciated.”

This funding is part of a $1.1 billion coronavirus-response package adopted by both the Senate and House and signed into law on July 24 by Gov. Charlie Baker.