We received the news on Wednesday that the annual Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) will not be happening this October as a 2-day race on the Charles River. The HOCR Board of Directors has announced that this year’s competition will be held as a “global remote event.” While this announcement is not surprising, and we certainly commend the HOCR organizers for pursuing a remote event, it is yet another example of how fundamentally disruptive the COVID-19 pandemic has been for our visitor industry. The major festivals and iconic annual events that are so vital to the greater Boston economy simply cannot happen; and this does not even touch upon the cancelled meetings and conventions that are the lifeline of hotels and event venues.
I had an opportunity earlier this week to speak with Skift regarding the proposal we submitted to Governor Baker in hopes of loosening restrictions on gathering limits. That proposal is predicated on our industry partners being vigilant, indeed pioneering, in how we safely prepare to convene such gatherings. And so many partners are doing just that. Freeman, for example, has shared a presentation on the design of live events in this era and beyond. We encourage our member companies to review this very comprehensive deck. Our airline partners are being very proactive in sharing their cleaning procedures with destination partners and providing tours to illustrate the new procedures from check-in to boarding.
Last week the City of Boston hosted a webinar on Phase III of the reopening in Boston, including guidance for museums, cultural facilities and performance venues. You can find a recording of that webinar and register for their next session here. The GBCVB webinar series returns next week with a session entitled, “Pivot Don’t Panic: Marketing & Communications in this New Era.” This conversation will feature communications specialists advising our audience on how companies can reimagine their brand during this difficult period, and embrace the opportunity to reposition their brand and how they engage with consumers.
The Bureau will also be hosting webinars in August. On August 6 we will convene a session on cultural tourism. The panel will include representatives from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Revolutionary Spaces, ArtsBoston, and the MA Cultural Council discussing Phase III of the MA reopening and how cultural and historical venues are adjusting to the new reality. And then on August 13 we will host a webinar in collaboration with Kraft Sports + Entertainment to update our partners on the status of Gillette Stadium’s bid to host World Cup 2026 matches.
Our friends over at Massport report that in June Logan International Airport serviced about 438,000 passengers, down from 4.1M last June. This is just fraction, of course, but compared to the April and May YOY numbers that fraction is growing. We will continue to monitor these numbers and other KPIs and report them out to our membership accordingly. We are here for you. Have a great and safe weekend.
Martha J. Sheridan
President & CEO
Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau