Bay State tourism $ takes dive, but Brazil and Argentina send more visitors

The just-posted (even though it's dated as June) newsletter from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism has some grim numbers that help explain why Boston and other cities are itching to raise their hotel and meals taxes. The state's hotel occupancy rate for May was a weak 59.9 percent, down from 65.8 percent last year. And revenue from room occupancy taxes plunged by 21.6 percent, down from $14.3 million last May to $11.2 million this May. (Revenue was down 7.2 percent during the first five months of this year.)

From January through April, the number of people visiting Massachusetts from other countries fell by 9.3 percent compared with last year. Visitors from Great Britain fell by 22 percent, and those from Ireland slid by 14 percent. (They don't have to come here to get cool and rainy weather.) Bucking the trend, Argentina sent 12 percent more visitors, and the contingent from Brazil was up by 11 percent.