David James Bruce

Multimedia Journalist

Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Annual Report Data User Guide


David Bruce, Haley Hersey, Cullen McIntyre

Original purpose and application

Within the Massachusetts state government is a department called The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism’s Annual Report exists because the Executive Office of the governor’s office requested an annual report of travel and tourism activity, according to Tony Dagostino. The data in the report is collected by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. Dagostino said the report is designed to be a historical and reference document. If someone were to approach their office asking for specifics, they can be referred to the annual report and easily navigate it to find the information they sought. 


According to Marc Zappulla, the original purpose of the data and report was to help get a picture of where the domestic and foreign revenue and visitations are coming from. The data is used to form marketing strategies once it has been interpreted, Zappulla said. Massachusetts is broken into regions which are represented by a Regional Tourism Council, he said. By analyzing the data, the councils can “more properly focus on what tourism attractions are hitting it out of the park and which are striking out,” Zappulla said.


History, standards, and format

According to Tony Dagostino, Research Analyst for  the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) has been collecting this data and using this version of the Annual Report since the early 2000s. The report has historically remained consistent and they do not regularly add columns, Dagostino said. More photos, however, have been added to the report, per the request of a new administration with a vision for the guide to be an asset to stakeholders. The data has the structure of a table to help aid in a yearly comparison. By having five years of data in one annual report, changes over time in the data can be more easily analyzed. The format changes only with the addition of photos and slight modification to the template to be more visually appealing and for readability purposes. While the format has changed slightly the data points have remained unchanged.  


Organizational context

Although budget has not historically been an issue, one issue that was noted by the author of the data was COVID-19. During COVID there was a potential breakdown in the continuity. Many of the vendors (private organizations) closed due to the impacts of the pandemic. This may have caused a gap in the chain of data and potentially resulted in a loss of historical data. In the aftermath of the pandemic, new vendors were brought in and possibly lacked some of the historical continuity. Although the data is prepared by state employees a lot of the inputs and some of the processing relied on these private organizations. As for staffing, the report and data is compiled by one individual. He collects data from different sources and compiles it into the one database/report. This is important to note because it shows how much of an undertaking is given to one research analyst.



The report is compiled by several different online databases and spreadsheets, according to Tony Dagostino. The process is very repetitive. The same process is repeated annually and every report contains data from the last five years. Dagostino described it as a rolling five year period with each year bumping up by one year. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism sees it as a five-year summary, said Dagostino. He said they will add the data to an Excel spreadsheet and then copy and paste it into the report. Each narrative that goes along with the tables is then changed by hand. The data that is gathered relies on both state and private organizations. The information relies on third party users, open source information, office of budgeting and the Department of Treasury. Processing is done online, with spreadsheets, and also with proprietary software that is internal to the state by Dagostino. 


The datasets rely on a multitude of inputs, including: the Department of Commerce, United States Travel Association (USTA), and Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), A London based market research firm, that is privately owned. Once the data is gathered it is compiled and uploaded to the report which is posted on the state’s Travel and Tourism site. To create a more visually appealing product photos are included. 


The breakdown of information of the report contains the following categories:

  • Economic Impact
  • Domestic and International Visitors
  • Report Data
  • Impact of Covid-19
  • International Results
  • Economic Impact of Tourism 

Exploratory Visualizations of the Data




Things to know about the data, including limitations


The data is limited in a few ways. Firstly, it relies on external sources that are not consistently utilized. Also, while the data is posted to a link that is accessible to the public, the purpose of creating the data set is because it is mandated by executive members of state offices and not constructed to assist private industry, outside vendors and the general public. In this way the data is not outwardly focused, but conversely it is crafted as a tool for internal budgetary use and viewed from an internal lens. Although as mentioned, the data sets are created for the Office of Travel and Tourism, the report appears online on many different governmental sites, providing access to any private citizen with an interest to use.  


Other Stories, Reports and Outputs from this data

Dagostino said travel-related businesses in the state will utilize the data in the report to inform next year’s business plan. They specifically will look at the prior year’s lodging, tax and economic impact data sets to model out trends for budgeting purposes. Below are some hyperlink examples of other uses of the data.


Supplementary Information

Authors of this Data User Guide

  • Research Analyst Tony Dagostino is the sole author of this report. He is responsible for compiling all of the data into a usable resource for the state government and general public.

Source Log 

Name Phone number Email address
Tony Dagostino, Research Analyst (617) 605-3976 tony.dagostino@state.ma.us 
Marc Zappulla, Grant Coordinator (781) 267-8855 Marc.Zappulla@state.ma.us
Keiko Matsudo Orrall, Executive Director Mass Office of Travel & Tourism (617) 973-8500 Keiko.Matsudo@state.ma.us