The communities of Foxboro, Plainville and Wrentham have come together to launch a new website to help attract travelers to the area.
A click on the new site visitfwp.com reveals the motto of the initiative: “Stay a little longer, play a little more!” while the rest of the page features 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 with Bruce Stebbins , member of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
The commission was preparing a report outlining proposed strategies to reinvest a portion of new tax revenue from the Gaming Economic Development Fund, which was created under the Gaming Act to mitigate the impacts of Plainridge Park Casino on surrounding communities.
“I didn’t think Foxboro, as the surrounding community of Plainridge, had suffered many, if any, negative effects from the Plainridge Park Casino, but I thought our area could support this slot-only gaming facility” , Duncan said. “Additionally, I wanted to access the significant amount of funding that was going to be available through the Gaming Economic Development Fund.”
She drafted a proposal which she said was a bit premature since the commission was still in the review phase to figure out how to use the funding. However, Duncan was later able to formally apply for funding to hire a marketing consultant to prepare a regional destination marketing plan.
Duncan said he chose Foxboro, Plainville and Wrentham because the communities are home to several major area attractions — Gillette Stadium, Patriot Place, Plainridge and the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets — which attract 20 million visitors each year.
“Intuitively, I sensed that international visitors were moving out of Boston and taking a day trip to Wrentham to visit the outlets, which meant they weren’t spending their money at local establishments in outside of outlets,” she said. “I wanted these people to come to the area for more than one day.”
Duncan said the goal is to increase nighttime activities in the area throughout the year by attracting new visitors while encouraging existing visitors to explore the area’s many businesses and attractions.
“I hope our region will be recognized as a destination of choice with visitors coming to stay there for a day or two,” she said. “These people, in addition to visiting one or more of the ‘Big 3’ destinations, will stay at our hotels, dine at our restaurants, shop at our local stores, and experience the history and beauty that our region has to offer. “
She said another goal is to attract smaller conferences to the area.
“We would like them to use our meeting rooms, our hotels and our restaurants,” Duncan said. “We hope conference attendees will bring their families and take advantage of all the other things this area has to offer. If the World Cup is in Foxboro, we want to be in a good position to attract overnight visitors to our area.
Christopher Yarworth, director of planning and development and conservation officer for Plainville, said the website highlights many of the community’s attractions.
“There’s a wonderful bookstore in our downtown area, we have recreational areas, like disc golf or hiking in Hawkins Woods, which are free to the public,” he said. “We hope that by showcasing the assets of the three cities together, the three will benefit more than if we acted alone.”
Rachel Benson, director of planning and economic development at Wrentham, said it was nice for people to understand that Wrentham is not just about outlets.
“We have hikes, a nice downtown, we have events all year round in the town,” she said.
“Residents and people who live in the area know us, but then putting it all together and taking quite a trip and posting the itinerary on the website, I think it’s really exciting to involve more people in our area and find out,” she said.
Any company wishing to collaborate or be promoted should contact marketing consultant Christine Pappas by email: [email protected] for more information.