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Tourism, Arts, Culture Committee to Visit Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON — The state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development continues its 2016 listening tours across the state in Hampshire County on Monday, May 9, beginning with a public hearing at 10 a.m. at the UMass Fine Art Center Concert Hall.

This listening tour is part of a statewide series headed by state Sen. Eric Lesser and State Rep. Cory Atkins, committee co-chairs. Legislators from the committee and representatives from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, and the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Committee will join community members, artists, and local business owners to discuss the economic impact the arts, culture, and tourism have on Hampshire County.

“We’re very excited to welcome members of the committee to Hampshire County again,” said Suzanne Beck, executive director of the Northampton Chamber of Commerce and director of the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council. The committee visited Hampshire County in April 2014. “This is a great opportunity for our industry members to speak directly to their representatives about the good work they’re doing and thank them for the critical financial support we’ve received from the Legislature.”

Tourism is the third-largest revenue-producing industry in the Commonwealth. In 2014, domestic and international visitors spent $19.5 billion in the state. Statewide, the tourism industry employs 132,000 people. Visitors — defined as people who travel from more than 50 miles away — spent nearly $146 million in Hampshire County alone and support 870 jobs. An additional 3,300 jobs are dependent on tourism spending. More than 60% of these jobs come from independent artists and promoters, agents, performing-arts venues, and museums. The tourism industry has grown 20% in the last decade.

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