BOSTON -- When it comes to developing motorcoach itineraries in
Massachusetts, "we try to take the hot topics in the business and
find attractions that are off the beaten track," said Mary Hayes,
group tour manager for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and
The office offers an up-to-date database of hotels, restaurants,
attractions, receptive operators, charters and other information
for group tour operators "including the latest information on how
best to navigate the Big Dig," said Hayes, referring to the massive
highway construction project in Boston.
Trends in the motorcoach market in Massachusetts include soft
adventure, heritage and cultural tourism, whale watching and the
ever-expanding student market, she said.
"The group tour suppliers in Massachusetts are very
sophisticated, and they understand that by packaging -- including
day and overnight tours -- they make it easy for the tour
operators," said Hayes.
Examples include combining amphibious Duck Tours with visits to
the Hard Rock Cafe and Boston's long-running play "Shear Madness,"
"You also can have dinner at the Union Oyster House in Boston,
followed by an evening with Paul Revere at the Old North Church,"
Programs with a garden component are popular, she said, citing
the Berkshire Botanical Garden, Old Sturbridge Village, the New
England Spring Flower Show in Boston and the Garden in the Woods in
"Lexington has done a wonderful job putting together an
interactive living history exhibition highlighting the different
aspects of the Revolutionary War, such as what it was like to be a
woman during that period," she said.
Agricultural tours include OceanSpray's Cranberry World in
Plymouth, where groups can see how cranberries are harvested, as
well as pick-your-own fruit tours in combination with hay rides and
Tour operators can take advantage of upcoming anniversaries to
package products, such as the 25th anniversary of Faneuil Hall
marketplace in Boston, which will feature a range of special
Also on tap is the 375th anniversary of the city of Salem as
well as the 150th anniversary of the printing of Nathaniel
Hawthorne's "House of the Seven Gables."
"A big thing in Boston this year will be the exhibition of
Jackie Kennedy's gowns at the Kennedy Library this September,"
History buffs can take in 18th century reenactments at Olde
Deerfield, walking tours of Beacon Hill in Boston and house tours
of 19th century homes in Fall River through the local historical
"There is a lot of diversity in Massachusetts," said Hayes,
noting that two special events -- the Bright Nights at Forest Park
in Springfield and First Night in Boston -- have both been ranked
among the top 100 ABA events.
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism maintains a group
tour Web site at www.massvacation.com/grouptour as well as
e-mail at [email protected].