Signs Point To Strong Tourism Season

Optimism is breaking out for a strong tourism season for inns and hotels in the town of Barnstable.

“It’s looking good,” said Vince Toreno, co-owner of Ashley Manor in Barnstable Village. “We had a very strong January.“

Last year was our best year ever,” Mr. Toreno said. “We had a phenomenal 2011. We’re expecting a very good year again this year.”

At the High Pointe Inn in West Barnstable, co-owner Debbie Howard said business for January and so far this month is considerably ahead of last year.

“We’re certainly optimistic for the rest of the season,” Ms. Howard said. “It’s looking at least as good, if not better than last year.“

The phone is ringing more,” she said. “There’s an uptick of visitors on the website. The overall economic news is getting more and more helpful.”

“Things are looking good,” said Skip Simpson, owner of the Anchor-In in Hyannis, who added that his business has been able to count on a steady flow of business year after year.

Jessica Sylver, president and chief executive officer of the Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce, said accommodations members are reporting that reservations are running ahead of last year.

Wendy Northcross, chief executive officer of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, said website traffic at the chamber was up 60 percent in the last quarter.

So far this year, website traffic is ahead 37 percent.

“Our phones are ringing off the hook,” Ms. Northcross said.

Accommodations members in the town of Barnstable have the second highest number of rooms on the Cape after Yarmouth, she said, so hotels and inns in Barnstable get a good chunk of the Cape’s tourism business.

Ms. Northcross said business also is looking good for the Cape’s spring and fall “shoulder” tourism seasons, traditionally a busy time for motor coach tours.

“We’ve had strong advance motor coach bookings, more than we’ve seen in three years,” she said.

Lisa Simmons, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, said 2012 follows an upbeat 2011 in Massachusetts tourism.

“Room revenue for the Massachusetts lodging industry was up almost 9 percent in 2011,” Ms. Simmons said. “Additionally, international travel to the United States from western Europe and Canada (which combined account for two-thirds of the Massachusetts market) was up nearly 6 percent.“

In the first month of 2012, Boston area lodging has seen an increase in room revenue of over 11 percent compared to January of 2011,” she said.

At the Heritage House Motel in Hyannis, owner Peter Martino said, “We’re budgeting for a very good year.”

Last year would have been the motel’s strongest year ever if not for the appearance of Tropical Storm Irene, Mr. Martino said.

So far, he said, advance bookings are running 5 percent ahead of last year.

“They’re a good sign,” he said.

At the Salt Winds Bed & Breakfast in Hyannis, co-owner Craig Conroy is expecting another strong year from what he called the establishment’s loyal clientele, much of whom come from overseas.

“Each of the past three years has been better than the last year,” Mr. Conroy said.

At the Lamb & Lion Inn in Barnstable Village, co-owner Tom Dott said the winter has been going really well.

Mr. Dott is confident that 2012 will be another robust year at the inn, but advance reservations do not figure into his calculations.

“Our reservations come in more and more at the last minute every year,” he said. It is a trend that he said has been continuing over the past seven to eight years.

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