While businesses are gearing up for Plymouth’s 400th anniversary next year, tourism officials are telling them 2020 is only the beginning.

PLYMOUTH – While businesses are gearing up for Plymouth’s 400th anniversary next year, tourism officials are telling them 2020 is only the beginning.

“Remember, the anniversary of the first Thanksgiving will be in 2021,” Michele Pecoraro, executive director of Plymouth 400 Inc. told business leaders. “Next year is just the start. We want to welcome visitors so they return the following year and keep returning after that. We want repeats.”

Pecoraro and other tourism and town officials spoke last week at “What to Expect in 2020” for the business community. This regular meeting at the Spire Center is designed to keep retailers, companies and attractions apprised of the latest plans for the 400th commemoration.

Plymouth is preparing for an influx of visitors. How many exactly is anybody’s guess, but Police Chief Michael Botieri is expecting a lot – more than the town has seen in some time, perhaps ever.

“It’s hard to say what the numbers will be,” he said. “A lot of it is weather-driven. Right now, we are working on estimates of people that are double anything we’ve seen before. We’re preparing for crowds of that size.”

One of the reasons numbers may be so high relates to the efforts of Plymouth 400′s media partner, NBC10 Boston, which also includes NECN and Telemundo Boston. The television station and its affiliates are already promoting the anniversary commemoration with a series of videos airing on its outlets and online, as well as through the national network and international news partners.

“We decided that 2020 and Plymouth were really significant to us as a TV station and regional cable network,” said Maggie Baxter, vice president of programming for the three media outlets. “We thought this was an opportunity for us to give back and do something to not only promote Plymouth, but also the commemoration on a national and global scale.”

In addition to promotional segments, NBC10 Boston will also cover news related to Plymouth’s 400th anniversary commemoration and signature and partner events, including next year’s 2020 Opening Ceremony April 24, return of the Mayflower II May 21, Official Maritime Salute June 27 and other activities. It will also broadcast this year’s America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration Parade Nov. 23.

Because of that attention, Plymouth 400 Inc. is encouraging local businesses and attractions to be prepared for the influx of visitors. Lea Filson, executive director of Destination Plymouth and Plymouth County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said it is imperative that staff be trained to deal with large crowds and to be able to handle their needs.

“We need to give a great experience to the visitor,” she said. “They will probably be visiting in greater numbers than ever before, so we need to welcome them with great positivity. We want them to come back to Plymouth again.”

Plymouth 400 and other tourism leaders are working with town officials, state agencies, law enforcement and the business community to prepare the town for this important anniversary commemoration. All aspects of planning, including satellite parking, shuttle services, crowd control, security, traffic flow and more, are being reviewed and refined to be able to handle the large numbers of people expected in 2020.

“Tourism is our number-one source of economic development,” said Brian Logan, communications manager of Plymouth 400. “We have to be prepared to provide the best experience possible during this important moment in our history.”

To do this, Plymouth 400 and other tourism agencies are training a cadre of volunteers who will assist tourists during their visit here. These ambassadors will be going to local companies and attractions to learn about them so they can provide visitors with the most up-to-date information.

“We’ll be sending them to your businesses to learn what you offer,” Pecoraro said. “We want them to know about historic sites and local businesses so they can direct them to your services.”

For more information about activities and programs related to Plymouth’s 400th anniversary commemoration, visit Plymouth400inc.org. A schedule of events is also posted on the website.

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