SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

May 14, 2014

In Salem, tourist boom starts with a boost from TV show

SALEM — This city’s already a step ahead going into the new tourist season.

Kate Fox, the city’s tourism director, said the new show “Salem” on WGN America has resulted in a large bump in traffic to the city’s website for visitors, www.salem.org.

“The first week the show aired, our Web traffic went up about 20 percent,” Fox said. “We definitely see a little bit of a bump on Sunday nights.”

The city doesn’t have anything to do with the production of the show, which concerns the Salem Witch Trials and is being filmed in Louisiana, but stands to gain should it increase witch-related tourism. Fox said she is optimistic about the next six months.

“All indications are we’re going to have a great season,” she said.

At the Witch Museum, director Tina Jordan agreed that the show is having an impact and said it is part of an increasing interest Hollywood has in Witch Trials-related entertainment.

“Hollywood has just found the story fascinating,” Jordan said. “I think it all draws attention to people wanting to know the real story.”

Jordan said the Witch Museum saw dramatically more visitors this April than last, though it wasn’t only because of shows like “Salem.”

“It was a good April; what a difference a year makes,” she said. “I’ve never seen more international visitors come to the city in my life, and I’ve been here 34 years.”

One of the reasons this year’s numbers are higher is better collaboration between Salem and groups like the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, she said. Another is that the Boston Marathon bombings scared off potential visitors last year.

“I think the bombing made people reluctant to travel,” she said. “It’s really refreshing to see the number of visitors.”

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