BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — DANVERS — Representatives of the tourism industry will gather Friday at the annual North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau summit at DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on Ferncroft Road.
Speakers will include state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives of Newburyport and state Treasurer Steve Grossman. O’Connor Ives is the Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.
”I’m going to speak to how the tourism industry is a critical component of the commonwealth” and how important it is to the state’s economic development, she said. Travel and tourism is the state’s third-largest industry sector, supporting 126,000 jobs with $3.7 billion in wages.
”I think now is an excellent opportunity for growth, because there is a great deal of interest from international visitors,” O’Connor Ives said. Essex County’s rich cultural resources make it a unique destination, she said.
”If we are focused on the tourism industry and making sure Massachusetts is a destination for both national and international tourists, then we have to focus on making our transportation options and infrastructure options very on-point to grow the industry,” she said.
Breakout sessions at the conference will include “Working with the Travel Media” and “Making Movies.”
The afternoon session will feature a casino update by Salem resident Chip Tuttle, the chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs.