Arthur Motta, director of the Bristol County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that "the nations we are getting are the traditional ones, but in greater numbers - the U.K., Germany.
We're seeing people we wouldn't usually be seeing until the fall, the Norwegians.
said that much-anticipated direct flights to Milan, Italy from Boston have been delayed and won't start until mid-July.
But when that finally happens, More Europeans will have a direct route into New England, so they can get around the hassle of flying into New York City and renting a car for a four-hour drive into Greater Boston.
, who attended a tourism conference in Italy earlier this year, said "the Europeans may hate the Bush administration, but they view New England very, very positively, and they view Boston as the gateway to all of New England.
It's all considered a mega-region."
happily learned that "for the average southern European, the travel iconography for New England is Pilgrims, cranberries, and Thanksgiving.
That's not the Nutmeg State (Connecticut).
That's not Providence.
All of the images associated with New England are Massachusetts.
That's a sort of marketing niche we have with them.
"And they are very interested in our Maritime heritage.
I talked to a media company there about doing three episodes for their discovery channel on maritime Massachusetts," said Mr. Motta
"They all know 'Moby-Dick.' It's kind of a supreme icon."
When those direct flights begin, tourism from Italy "could double without too much trouble," said Mr. Motta
said that travelers are changing their vacation patterns this year to compensate for higher costs.
"They're making four-day weekends in July and August and going on shorter trips," he
They're also taking advantage of what's offered nearby.
"State parks and forests have predicted much higher attendance," he
added that "agritourism" is also doing well: visits to wineries, breweries, organic farms, cranberry bogs and the like.
Such tours are often free, although tourists are encouraged to spend all they like buying the products that they have just learned about.
Area hotel bookings remain fairly strong, Mr. Motta
said, thanks in large part to the Europeans and to all of the social events.
"We're seeing more wedding parties," he