Mayor Walsh releases request for proposals for visit Boston campaign
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) inviting proposals from consultants, firms, agencies, or other organizations to partner on shaping and executing a branding and marketing campaign to tourists. The RFP is designed to build Boston's brand as a travel destination, increase awareness and active promotion, and drive visits to Boston from diverse local and regional visitors. Completed proposals will be accepted up to October 5, 2020 at 4:00 p.m., and must be submitted electronically via the Supplier Portal.
"With our rich history, diverse neighborhoods, and legacy of arts, culture, and education, Boston has something for everyone," said Mayor Walsh. "The selected campaign will help us showcase all that Boston has to offer as a travel destination, and warmly welcome diverse local and regional visitors to explore our city, while adhering to public health guidelines."
As the City of Boston plans to build back stronger and more equitably, the Arts, Culture, and Tourism industry is a critical component to the future success of the City of Boston. The selected campaign will assemble a local tourism campaign to draw diverse tourists to take advantage of all that Boston has to offer as the City safely responds to and recovers from COVID-19.
A successful application would examine the ways in which Boston communicates about the offerings of the city, and highlight attractions and events that speak to the experiences of people of color in Boston. As such, part of the evaluation the City of Boston will be using in the selection process will be ensuring the respondent has a plan that demonstrates focus on equity and inclusion. Given the wide range of needed expertise anticipated, the City of Boston welcomes proposals to create partnerships and join with complementary organizations and vendors to provide a comprehensive proposal. Additionally, applicants reflecting the City of Boston's rich diversity are encouraged to apply. The City of Boston is committed to selecting a campaign focused on welcoming all kinds of visitors.
"Arts, Culture, and Tourism are vital to Boston's economic recovery," said Chief of Economic Development John Barros. "Maintaining Boston's economic and competitive advantage depends on a strong recovery in our Arts, Culture, and Tourism industry by showing all that Boston -- both downtown and in our neighborhoods -- has to offer in a way that is appealing and inviting to diverse groups of people locally and across the United States."
While contributing 4.83 percent to the Gross City Product, the categories of Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation; Accommodation and Food Services made up 10.4 percent of the City's jobs. The Arts, Culture, and Tourism sectors provide approximately three times the jobs in Boston compared to the nation overall, and create more jobs than either educational institutions or medical institutions. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Boston hosted over 19 million domestic and 1.7 million international visitors per year.
Travelers adhering to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Travel Order, effective August 1, 2020, are welcome to visit Boston and responsibly enjoy its many tourist attractions. All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, who do not meet an exemption, are required to: Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless they are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health; and quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.
Currently, travelers from low-risk states are exempt from filling out the Massachusetts Travel Form. Travelers to the City of Boston are encouraged to review the latest public health guidance on boston.gov/covid-19. Travelers may also prepare for their visit by learning about the City of Boston's reopening efforts and public health guidelines for businesses at boston.gov/reopening.
Given the importance of this economic pillar to Boston's equitable economic recovery and future, this project will be funded by CARES Act Relief Funding. In accordance with the regulations, the project must provide resources or assistance to mitigate effects on health and/or provide economic support. The selected vendor will need to comply with all associated regulations and provide all contracts, purchase orders, invoices, to validate payment. The ending eligibility date for expenses is December 30, 2020.
This announcement is part of the Walsh Administration's ongoing work to support small businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. On September 15, Mayor Walsh announced the City of Boston is extending the outdoor dining season to better serve restaurants and patrons. On May 21st, the City of Boston announced new measures to help restaurants during the ongoing public health crisis, including expanding outdoor seating, and waiving fees for outdoor space. To date, the Office of Economic Development's Small Business Relief Fund has awarded $6.7 million to businesses in need. The businesses receiving grants represent industries most-impacted by closures, policies, or general loss of revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout every neighborhood in Boston. The Reopen Boston Fund, launched in May 2020, continues to offer grants to Boston's businesses of up to $2,000 to assist with reopening costs, including for PPE. More than 1,200 businesses have received direct grants from the Reopen Boston Fund to date, with more than $2.1 million distributed.
To further assist the City's small businesses, the City of Boston created a platform to help businesses source the personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies they will be required to have available in order to ensure the safety of employees and customers as industries begin to reopen. Along with industry-specific reopening requirements, the page includes a list of self-identified, local suppliers of PPE and cleaning supplies, information on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' vendor database, and partner organizations helping to connect businesses with vendors.
In addition, in July, Mayor Walsh announced a new ramp initiative to increase accessibility to outdoor dining amidst the COVID-19 public health emergency. Restaurants that have been granted a temporary license to have seating in a parking space or on the street are eligible to request a portable ramp.