The communities of Foxboro, Plainville and Wrentham have banded together to launch a new initiative and website to help draw travelers to the area.
Clicking on the new visitfwp.com website, brings up the initiative’s motto, “Stay a little longer, play a little more!” while the rest of the page showcases special attractions ranging from local events to landmarks in each of the three communities.
Paige Duncan, Foxboro’s director of land use and economic development, said the idea for the destination branding effort first came to her in 2017 when she spoke to Massachusetts Gaming Commission member Bruce Stebbins.
The commission was preparing a report describing proposed strategies for reinvesting a portion of the new tax revenue from the Gaming Economic Development Fund created under the Gaming Act to mitigate impacts of Plainridge Park Casino on surrounding communities.
“I didn’t believe that Foxboro, as a surrounding community to Plainridge, had experienced many (if any) negative effects from Plainridge Park Casino, but thought that our region could support this slots-only gambling facility,” Duncan said. “Plus, I wanted to gain access to the significant amount of funding that was going to be available through the Gaming Economic Development Fund.”
She wrote up a proposal, which, she said, was a bit premature since the commission was still in the review phase of figuring out how to use the funding. However, Duncan later was able to officially apply for funding to hire a marketing consultant to prepare a regional destination marketing plan.
Duncan said she chose Foxboro, Plainville, and Wrentham because the communities are home to several major attractions to the area — Gillette Stadium, Patriot Place, Plainridge and the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, which draw 20 million visitors annually.
“Intuitively I felt that international visitors based themselves out of Boston and took a day trip to Wrentham to visit the outlets which meant that they were not spending their dollars at local establishments outside the outlets,” she said. “I wanted to get these folks to come to the region for more than just one day.
Duncan said the goal is to increase year-round overnight business in the region by attracting new visitors while encouraging existing visitors to explore the many businesses and attractions in the region.
“I hope that our region is recognized as a desirable destination with visitors coming to stay for a day or two,” she said. “These folks, in addition to visiting one or more of the ‘Big 3’ destinations, will stay in our hotels, dine in our restaurants, shop in our local stores and experience the history and beauty our region has to offer.”
She said another goal is to attract smaller conferences out to our region.
“We’d like them to use our meeting facilities, hotels, and restaurants,” she said. “We hope conference attendees bring their families and enjoy all the other offerings this region has to offer. If the World Cup comes to Foxboro, we want to be well-positioned to attract visitors to stay overnight in our region.”
Christopher Yarworth, director of planning and development, and conservation agent for Plainville, said said the website highlights many of the community’s attractions.
“There is a wonderful bookstore in our downtown, we have recreational areas, such as disc golf or hiking at Hawkins Woods that are free to the public,” he said. “We hope that by showcasing the assets of the three towns together, all 3 will benefit more than if we acted singly.”
Rachel Benson, director of planning and economic development in Wrentham, said it is nice for people to understand there is more to Wrentham than just the outlets.
“We have hiking, a nice downtown, we have events throughout the year at the common,” she said. “Residents and people that live in the area know about us but then putting it all together and making a whole trip out of it and putting up the itinerary on the website, I think it is really exciting to get more people involved in our area and find out,” she said.
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