April 14, 2017 - For Immediate Release
Media Contact: David O'Donnell, dodonnell@bostonusa.com

The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (GBCVB) China marketing initiative hit another major milestone with the successful completion of the Boston visitor industry’s first sales mission to China.  “Based on the preliminary results of our China trade mission, our goal to generate 500,000 Chinese visitors to Boston by 2021 is clearly reachable,” said Bureau President & CEO Patrick Moscaritolo.   

The GBCVB, joined by ten of its member companies, spearheaded the sales mission to China from March 12-18, 2017.  The delegation visited Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing to promote Boston, Cambridge and Massachusetts, conduct interviews with Chinese media, and meet with China’s largest tour operators to generate new business for Boston and Massachusetts’ hotels, attractions, retailers and restaurants.

The China sales mission stemmed from several years of preparation.  In 2013, the GBCVB formed a China-Friendly Marketing Committee so its members could benefit from the Bureau’s China sales and marketing initiatives and focus on best practices to serve the needs of Chinese visitors coming to Boston and Cambridge.  Bureau CEO Patrick Moscaritolo credits Bruce Bommarito, now Vice President of International Marketing with Caesars Entertainment Corporation, with helping to develop Boston’s China initiative; four years ago Bommarito was consulting with DMOs, including the Greater Boston CVB, on how to create effective China marketing programs.  The Bureau has also collaborated with the Confucius Institute at UMass Boston to develop cultural training programs.  According to Moscaritolo, “these partnerships have paid off as Chinese visitors to Boston have doubled since 2013, and in 2016 overtook UK visitors as the top overseas source market for visitors to Boston and Cambridge.” 

Leading the GBCVB delegation to China was Angela Vento, General Manager of the Sheraton Boston Hotel, Vice Chair of the GBCVB Board of Directors, and Chair of the GBCVB China-Friendly Marketing Committee.  With almost three decades of hospitality experience, including more than 20 years in Hawaii developing marketing programs aimed at Chinese visitors, Vento saw this mission as a critical opportunity to grow Boston’s market share of Chinese visitors. “This first China Sales Mission demonstrates our commitment to the market,” said Vento. “China’s rising middle class, access to 10 year Visas as well as resources, time and interest in traveling abroad put Boston in a great position to develop industry partnerships and grow visitor arrivals.”    

In addition to the Sheraton Boston, other properties that participated in the mission included the Forbes Four-Star InterContinental Boston and the Godfrey Hotel Boston, a new boutique property in Downtown Crossing.  For tours and attractions, the Bureau was excited to have delegates from Boston Duck Tours, Boston Harbor Cruises, Trademark Tours and the New England Aquarium join the mission.  The iconic Boston Symphony Orchestra also participated, as did the AsiaUS Business Connection, a Boston-based company specializing in cultural exchange programs and educational tourism.

The Bureau’s China marketing initiative has involved the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT).  For the past year, the GBCVB and MOTT have pursued integrated marketing campaigns, in concert with Brand USA, to produce materials and videos in Mandarin, host media and trade familiarization trips from China, and exhibit at tradeshows to generate business for GBCVB members.  MOTT Executive Director Francois-Laurent Nivaud traveled with the delegation to China to represent the Massachusetts visitor industry.  “The mission represented a strong private-public partnership, and a good business opportunity for local companies,” said Nivaud.  “It also represented a chance for the tourism industry to strengthen the brand of the entire Commonwealth, especially in Beijing and Shanghai, which have direct flights to and from Logan International Airport.”

The GBCVB has also partnered with Hainan Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways to host symposia and coordinate media visits to Boston.  This June, the GBCVB will collaborate with Hainan Airlines to host a Chinese media group in Boston to celebrate the third anniversary of Hainan’s non-stop service to Boston, which commenced flights from Beijing on June 20, 2014, and from Shanghai on June 20, 2015.