Commonwealth Magazine

Lenox, a tourism mecca in western Massachusetts, has seen a record rebound in visitor numbers in the wake of COVID.

According to a recent story in the Berkshire Eagle, Lenox lodging tax revenue fell to $1.7 million in fiscal 2021 at the height of the pandemic, but then more than doubled to a record $3.8 million. dollars in fiscal year 2022 and are poised to increase again in the current fiscal year. City officials were thrilled with the big increase in tax revenue, but weren’t sure if it would last.

“The reason for this cautious optimism is our inability to discern whether this is a lasting trend or just a ‘trip of revenge,'” City Manager Christopher Ketchen told the Berkshire Eaglea reference to pent-up demand in the wake of COVID.

A check by Commonwealth Lodging tax numbers for a handful of other communities around the state revealed an interesting trend. Like Lenox, many smaller tourist communities saw their lodging tax revenues soar to new heights in fiscal year 2022. But larger communities are lagging behind, perhaps because business travel isn’t did not rebound as quickly.

The journey of revenge may be real, but if it isn’t, all communities experience it the same way. For example, Chatham, Provincetown, Edgartown, Nantucket, and Rockport saw no declines in lodging tax revenue due to COVID and all hit record highs in fiscal year 2022, which ended July 1, 2022. last year in June.

Nantucket saw its lodging tax revenue grow from $3.8 million in fiscal year 2019 to $12.5 million in fiscal year 2022. Edgartown grew from $1 million to 3 .8 million. Rockport went from $409,000 to $903,000. And Provincetown went from $596,000 to $1.4 million.

Like Lenox, a number of other smaller communities experienced a decline in lodging tax revenue in fiscal year 2021 (July 2020 to June 2021), but then a sharp increase in fiscal year 2022 Salem fell to $554,000 in fiscal 2021, but then more than tripled to $1.8. million in fiscal year 2022. Falmouth fell to $600,000 before bouncing back to $1 million. Northampton and New Bedford followed similar trend lines.

In contrast, most major cities in the state still haven’t recovered all of the lodging revenue they lost during COVID.

Boston hit $100.6 million in lodging tax revenue the year before COVID hit, plunged to $15.6 million in fiscal 2021, and rebounded to $75 million in fiscal year 2022.

Cambridge followed a similar pattern, falling to $1.4m at the height of COVID and rebounding to $8m in fiscal 2022, half of what it brought in in the fiscal year. 2019.

Worcester has followed a similar pattern, while Springfield has yet to rebound.

All revenue figures are from the Department of Revenue, which collects the state’s 5.7% room occupancy tax and pays local communities their local lodging tax, which is generally 6% everywhere except Boston, which is 6.5%.

State lodging revenue reached $294 million in fiscal year 2022, more than double revenue in fiscal year 2021 and $11 million more than revenue in fiscal 2022. fiscal year 2019 pre-COVID.



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Health Equity: Lumas Joseph Hillaire of Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health identifies three steps Governor Maura Healy can take to address health equity in Massachusetts. Read more.



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