Debra Catania recently got a call from a British tour operator requesting room reservations at her Plymouth boutique hotel for 2020, the year marking the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony.
Catania, owner of the John Carver Inn & Spa, told the operator it was too soon, to try her again next year.
“That is telling me that excitement is growing for it,” Catania said.
Yet it’s not too early for the people putting on the 2020 party. If anything, Plymouth 400 Inc., is rushing to get commitments from the state government and private companies to help fund the estimated $16 million cost of the events that will take place over a 14-month period.
And to rope in broader support, the organizers are pitching the Plymouth commemoration as but the first in a number of historical anniversaries that Massachusetts could turn into a tourism bounty. In 2025, the city of Quincy will celebrate its quadricentennial, followed by Salem in 2026 and then Boston in 2030.
“I saw the potential for economic impact in having a platform of these anniversaries in the next few years,” said Michele Pecoraro, executive director of Plymouth 400, who wants the larger promotional campaign to be called Massachusetts 400. “In order to get any substantial state funding, we need to be working together.”
The collapse of Grand Prix of Boston and the Boston 2024 Olympics, Pecoraro argued, leaves the Massachusetts travel and tourism industry without signature events — a void she said Plymouth and other commemorations could fill. Yet despite working on the 2020 program for seven years, organizers so far have not nailed down much money — even though the first event gets off to an early start next year.